Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Long will my wheat last?

One of the common questions asked me is, "How long will wheat last in the berry form?"

My first response is to tell about King Tut! Kamut, which was found in King Tut's tomb and is thus nicknamed "King Tut's wheat." Kamut is an ancient 'wheat' used during King Tut's era. It is still available and used just as you would used present day wheat. So with that information on wheat in King Tut's tomb, it was sprouted. As long as the wheat berry is in the berry form, it is preserved. It begins its deterioration process once it has been milled. In fact, 78 hours after milling all the nutrients, except the fiber, have oxidized out. What will your grain is bugs, mice and water. Thus, you want to keep your wheat in sealed buckets. We used food grade buckets (click here)
and seal them with gamma lids. (click here)

If you buy wheat or any grain for that matter in a bag, I recommend putting the grain in the freezer for at least 3 days. This will kill any bug eggs or bugs that might be in the grain. Then, get the grain back to room temperature, put it in the food grade bucket and seal it. The heat of summer and the freeze of winter will not harm your grain. You have stopped the grain damaging culprits: bugs, mice and water.

To hone down a conservative time frame for storage, wheat farmers tell you 10-15 years. We, personally, have used wheat 15+ years old and it still makes great bread!

For some more wheat fact....
Major varieties are grown in the United States:
Hard red winter wheat
This is primarily grown in the "bread basket," the Midwestern states of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming. South Dakota and Minnesota also raise some hard red winter wheat. It is primarily used for breads and all-purpose flour. Note that the all purpose flour is refined and all the fiber and nutrition has been removed!!

Durum wheat
Durum wheat is used primarily for pasta.

Hard white spring wheat
This is the newest class of wheat grown in the United States. It is raised to some extent in all of the major wheat states but Montana white wheat will yield the best result with your baked goods. It is used for breads, Oriental noodles and really you can use it with most of your baking. You will find this also called "Golden 86" or "Prairie Gold."

Soft white wheat
This wheat is grown primarily in the northwest states. It is also called Pastry Wheat. This wheat is used for pastries, crackers, cereal, cakes, cookies, and Oriental noodles.

Wheat is the most consumed grain in the world!So here are some fun facts about wheat consumption around the world!

On a per-capita basis in 1995 on flour # per person:
Germans consumed 187 pounds
U.S.A. consume 150 pounds
Chile consume 214 pounds
Pakistan consume 334 pounds
European Union averages 160 pounds
East Africa region consume about 250 pounds
China consumes an average of 221 pounds

This wheat info is a series so stay tune for the next wheat info post!


  1. Hello! Thanks for posting this information. How about storing flour in the refrigerator? How much longer will it last (keep the nutrients)?

  2. Well, your a step ahead of next post is all about flour, flour names and flour longevity! Be sure to check back on the blog for a complete run down BUT to answer your immediate question, you have about 2 weeks in the fridge and still get the nutritional value of the flour. Glad the info has been helpful and happy baking!

  3. Good information! Thanks for sharing Paula! I have a question. I have purchased 50lb bags of grain because we are moving soon and I wasn't sure I could find a supplier. Can I keep the grain in the bags until I am ready to use it or should I do the freezer method and bucket storage right away when I arrive in my new home? I have purchased this way before and haven't ever put it in the freezer -just straight into the buckets when I am ready to use it. I store my bags in the house as opposed to basements, etc. Thank you for your knowledgeable response. Brandi

  4. If the bag you bought is in the double lined plastic bags they will keep during your transit time. The problem with any wheat in a bag is bugs, mice and water! I have lost so much grain to bugs and am deathly afraid of mice, so I don't take a chance. I always keep my wheat in buckets. I would freeze the wheat just to make sure all bugs/bug eggs are dead; then, put it in a sealed bucket.

    I wouldn't panic that you are going to lose the wheat today but it is really not a great idea to keep wheat long term in bags. Well, I guess if you live in sub-zero weather you could! :)