Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Preserving and Storing Wheat

Wheat berries in a glass jar

Wheat berries in a glass jar

To preserve and store your wheat yield, place wheat berries in an airtight, moisture-proof container and store away from heat and light. While ground flour can lose nutrients fairly quickly and has a limited shelf life, wheat berries in their whole form will stay safe in the pantry for six months or longer and in the freezer for a year or more.

If you’re afraid of bugs lingering in your grain, you can heat your wheat berries on a baking sheet in the oven at 130 to 140 degrees F for 30 minutes to an hour or use a dehydrator at the same temperature. Let the berries cool completely before sealing in the storage container. You can accomplish the same result by storing the grain in the freezer.

Grinding your wheat berries into flour is another way to preserve—and use—your wheat harvest. You will need a grain mill for this purpose. Mills come in different sizes and prices, so you need to shop around to find one that best suits your needs. Freshly ground wheat berries result in flour that is more nutritious than the wheat flour bought at the store. However, your homemade flour will not have been treated or processed to keep the oils in the flour from turning rancid. To keep the flour fresh, grind the wheat berries just before you’re going to use them; 1 cup of wheat berries yields nearly 2 cups of flour. If you accidentally grind more flour than you need, don’t worry! Just put it in the freezer in an air-tight container and use the flour as soon as possible.

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