My friend emailed me with this list of questions. I thought it was worth a post as she had some great ones.
1. Is it worth the additional cost to buy organic grain?
Whenever I can I try to buy organic. Many of the specialty grains like kamut and spelt are only offered that way. My wheat is not organic. Sometimes if the prices are too disparate I forgo the organic. I always cringe inside when I don't buy organic but I am also passionate about living on a budget. Sometimes the budget takes precedence. If you can afford it, I would always buy organic.
2. When you buy your grain in bags, do you keep it in the bag or transfer to superpails?
I always used my bagged grain first. When I open a bag I transfer it to a 5 gallon bucket with a gamma seal lid. I try not to keep my grains in bags very long. I live in a very dry climate and have a lot more forgiving conditions for storage than those of you who live in high humidity areas. I move through my grains pretty quickly. About 100 lbs a month.
3. How does the cannery* Non-Fat Milk compare to Walton Feed's? Do you know the shelf life of the latter?
I have not used the cannery milk in a long time. I am not certain if it is instant or not. I love the Walton milk. It is the best I have ever had, but since there is such a price difference it would probably be worth a taste test.
I use Walton for almost everything. Convenience and availability are key for me. I pay for both.
The shelf-life of powdered milk is quite long. Some brands will tell you only a couple years, but if kept in a cool dry location they will last indeterminately. You would know if your milk was bad because it would be discolored and have an odor. Even then I have read you can use it to make cheese. Doesn't sound that appetizing to me though :)
4. How does the cannery wheat compare to Walton Feed's? I'm asking because of the price difference.
I have never seen hard white wheat available at the cannery. I do not enjoy the red wheat. The color is darker and the taste more bitter. But I do know some people who love it. Additionally I find it wasteful to purchase my wheat in cans. I move through far too much. I have used several different kinds of wheat and my favorite is Waltons hard white.
5. How do you buy the flax seed that you grind? Do you buy golden or brown?
I buy my flax from Walton in 50 lb bags. I then transfer it to buckets. I had always bought brown but recently bought the golden. Originally I was under the impression brown was better, but my last research led me to believe there was no difference in the nutrition and the golden is said to have a superior taste. So I just purchased golden. I have yet to try it, as I am still working on our brown. A coffee grinder is perfect for grinding flax.
6. What kind of potato flakes do you buy? Do you buy them in bulk as well?
I buy my potato flakes from Walton. I purchase them in bulk, but in cans. I don't like the potato pearls or powder. The flakes work best in bread.
7. How do you buy your eggs in bulk - cans, boxes, buckets, pails? Do you know how long they last?
I was afraid of powdered eggs for a long time. I began by just buying a few small cans. I found I love them for baking and they contain no preservatives. I always buy the "whole eggs." I have around 15 lbs worth. It takes me a while to move through them. The shelf life is at least 3-5 years.
8. We love brown rice and I'd like to add that to our food storage room for long-term storage. Do you buy that in bulk as well, and if so, do you know how long it will store?
I do store brown rice in bulk. I have about 75 lbs. They say it will store for 6 months, but I have some that is 2 years old that I use which is perfectly fine. I am however moving away from using it, because they say it has such a short shelf-life. The nutritional value may be diminished. Instead I am steaming all sorts of other super grains like whole barley, rye and kamut in my rice cooker or pressure cooker. The taste and texture are similar and the nutritional value is unbeatable.
9. You mentioned wanting to buy steel cut oats in bulk. I had planned on buying Oat Groats and grinding them. Is that not the same thing?
Oat groats are whole oats. By grinding them you will get an oat flour. The flour is great for baking but I prefer the texture steel cut in my multigrain hot cereal and multigrain bread. Steel cut is more of a "cracked" grain feel. I cannot get it that coarse in my Nutrimill grinder. It says it has cracked grain, but it is too fine for my preference. I can put grains in my bosch blender and get a similar texture to the steel cut...so on further thought maybe I will just do that. But if I can find them for a good price, I will just buy them. We all deserve a little convenience right?
*The Mormon church offers Family Home Storage centers nationwide. These are often called "canneries". Canneries function as packing center for high quality food. This food is then distributed to members of the church in need of assistance as well as other humanitarian aid. The food is also available for purchase, for those seeking to store food in their homes.
t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.