Letter Re: Food Storage and Cooking With Home Storage

Hi Jim,
First I want to thank you for all the work you have done over the years to help the shorter sighted people like myself get into the survival mindset. If and when there is a collapse you probably will have saved thousands of lives. I first read The Gray Nineties online, and have been somewhat prepared since that time, mainly with bug out bag to get home, and short term (1 month) supplies. I am now in a financial position where I can start purchasing bulk food (i.e. – wheat), and store it, however I would not know what to do with it. Is there a good place I could find on the internet for explicit instructions, or a detailed book? (I’m not a chef, so it would have to be a “For Dummies” guide.) If I’m going to store bulk goods like wheat, I want to be able to use them on a weekly basis so that they don’t go to waste, and so that I can learn the preparation needed for meal making. Thanks! – Scott

JWR’s Reply: It is very wise to use your storage food on a day to day basis. Not only will you be rotating it, but just as importantly you will learn how to use it in cooking. There are thousands of “Tommy Tacticals” out there that have no clue about how to cook with their storage food. I even know of one poor soul that had 2,400 pounds of nitrogen packed hard red winter wheat but no wheat grinder until someone kindly (and quietly) pointed out his oversight.

What to do with all that wheat, rice, corn, and beans? For the wheat and corn, I recommend that you get a Country Living grain mill (available from ReadyMadeResources.com and several other Internet vendors). Motorizing kits are available, or if you are handy with tools you can build your own for less money. If you want to mainly grind by hand, be sure to get the optional “power bar” handle extension for extra leverage.

IMO, the best books on cooking with storage food are Making the Best of Basics and Cookin’ with Home Storage. Be sure sure to get the latest edition of each. Since we have chickens, I prefer to make egg breads. I also have a weakness for corn bread, which is a partial–albeit lame–excuse for the extra 10 pounds that I pack around. Stock up on the other items that you’ll need to bake bread: vegetable oil, salt, yeast (buy it in the large jars–the little packets are way over-priced), and honey (or sugar). Wheat stores for 20+ years, and honey and sugar store indefinitely. Sadly, the yeast will have be discarded every three years. The oil will have to be rotated as well, but at least it can be burned after it has gone rancid. (See my previous blog posts on diesel fuel alternatives.)