It’s all about storage time
I am on a mission to help my family eat healthier and one of the ways we are doing that is to incorporate more whole grains into our daily diet.
I also like to be frugal about my purchases and want to make sure that as part of my year supply of food storage we have these healthy grains available when we want them. That means that I need to be storing them properly.
One of the things you need to consider when deciding how long a grain will store is whether it is a hard grain or a soft grain.
Hard vs Soft Grains – What’s the Difference?
Some grains have a soft outer shell which doesn’t protect the inner seed as well. We call these Soft Grains and they have a storage life of about 8 years at 70 degrees F. If you have a way to keep your food storage cooler, your storage time may be longer.
The Soft Grains are:
- Barley, Hulled or Pearled
- Oats, Oat Groats, Rolled Oats,
- Rye Berries and
- Soft White Wheat.
Hard Grains store longer because of their hard outer shell which protects the germ of the seed. With proper storage at 70 degrees F you can expect these to last upwards of 25 years in your food storage.
The Hard Grains are:
- Dry Corn,
- Durum wheat,
- Hard Red and Hard White Wheat,
- Spelt and
Basic Grain Storage Instructions
I keep my grains in two basic areas.
My Long term food storage is where I keep the grains tightly sealed in mason jars, number 10 cans, 5 gallon buckets, or in mylar bags. All these are made secure in an oxygen free environment using either my FoodSaver or oxygen absorbers. (This is the best price I’ve found for oxygen absorbers)
The short term food storage area is basically my working pantry, and I know that I will be using these foods within 6 months. Grains are constantly being rotated from long term to short term storage so I always have the freshest product available.
You should store your grains in airtight containers and keep them away from light, heat, and moisture for maximum freshness. The oils in some whole grains can turn rancid over time, so be sure to check for a musty or off smell, this might mean they are past their prime. This is especially important to check when you have soft grains that are reaching the end of their shelf life.
We keep an inventory of the soft grains we have on hand and make sure that they are constantly being rotated. It may make sense for you to purchase and store only as much as your family can eat in 6 to 12 months. That will prevent any spoilage.
Grains can be an important part of your long and short term food storage plan. They are easy to obtain, store, and are part of a healthy diet. Knowing the difference between hard vs soft grains will really help you make the best use of your family budget and nothing will go to waste.