The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

interesting info on food storage including grains, flours etc

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avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

interesting info on food storage including grains, flours etc

In my search for spelt flour, my brother directed me to a company that sells all types of grains, beans, flours, etc for long term storage.


the name of the place is Walton Feeds.  They are based in Idaho.  You can download their catalog to see what they offer and how much the stuff is.  Eveything from dried beans, to 50lb bags of flour to grain mills (no photos of the grain mills that I could find) , but what I found very interesting was the information on this particular area of their site that talks about long term storage and expected results.


http://waltonfeed.com/blog/show/article_id/162


Since so many folks on THIS site are probably "from scratch" bakers etc, I thought you might be interested in the information provided.


One thing I didn't know, that I discovered reading thru this site, is that those little packets you find in so many things (the little 1-1/2" square packets in clear wrap?) are used to remove oxygen from the items which they're packed in.  I knew they said something about a freshness packet, but I didn't know they were designed to suck out oxygen................


anyway - if you get a chance - check out the link.  you may find it as intersting as I did.


-Susie


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Susie,


That's a nice website! Unfortunately for me, Idaho is a long way from where I live, but I found the storage information helpful.


I love spelt flour, and since reading Daniel Leader's Bread Alone have leaned toward organic and stoneground, when I can find it. I discovered 2 relatively local (small) millers who grind my whole organic spelt and whole organic rye. While these flours cost a bit more than the flour from a big company, the stoneground organic flour is so fresh, and since I don't use tons of these flours (I add them to my bread flour and AP), I find this worthwhile.


Where do you live? Are there any millers within a reasonable distance to you? The smaller millers are harder to find, because search engines like size, but I would keep looking.


David

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I liveon the Wi/IL border.  This is a farming area so you're probably right.  There must be a mill around here somewhere.


-Susie

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Susie,


Hodgson Mill is in Illinois. Give them a call. I don't see spelt on their list, but maybe they would add it to their product line.


http://www.hodgsonmill.com/home/


David

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Living in the Alaskan Interior, keeping in mind that we are about 400 miles north of Anchorage (main food depot from the Lower 48) and that 90% of our supplies come through a single point, the Port of Tacoma, in Washington, we are "into food storage" around here.  As a mandatory minimum, it's irresponsible (my opinion) to have less than a couple of week's worth of food stored and a better idea to have 6+ weeks stored.  We personally have 6+ months worth of food stored, and that's for a family of 6.  This of course means that we have grain (wheat, barley), beans, rice, soup mixes, flour, etcetera stored for the long term.  So much for background (and no, we're not LDS types, just Alaskans.)


With any natural dried product such as grain, rice, or beans (etc) you will always have pests.  It's unavoidable.  They may exist only as tiny eggs that may hatch some day while in storage, or they may be larvae or adults.  Either way, if you are going to store these types of foods for more than a couple of weeks, maybe 3 or 4, then you should take precautions to kill the pests that are inevitably there.  The good news is that it only takes a 10% CO2 atmosphere (for about 2 or 3 days) to kill them all, the eggs, the larvae, and the adults.  BTW, those little oxygen absorbers just don't answer when it comes to food preparation in volumes larger than a couple of cups ...look up how much oxygen they absorb by volume, compare that to your storage containers, then calculate how much absorbant you would need ...it's a crazy large amount.  It's better to displace the oxygen with CO2.  We either buy iron-able mylar bags (seal with a household iron) or just use food-grade 6-gallon buckets with sealing lids designed for (decades) long term storage.  Note that with the mylar bags, they are gas-proof and moisture-proof, but not puncture proof.  To displace oxygen and kill the critters that may or may not be in there, you put 2 ounces of dry ice (frozen CO2) in the bottom of the bucket, lay a paper towel over it, then pour in your food item to within about 2" of the top.  Use a mallet to put the lid about halfway on, allowing one edge to remain loose.  Within about 3 hours, the dry ice will have completely converted to CO2 gas, producing far more than the bucket can hold, and will have displaced the oxygen (air) in the bucket.  With the mylar bags, you place them in a bucket, follow the same dry ice and filling technique, then seal them, then leave the bag in the bucket and put the lid on.  Mylar is gas- and water-proof, but not puncture proof, so it needs to be stored in the buckets (or other countainer ...even a laundry basket with a lid that gets taped on.)  The resulting CO2 concentration is typically in the 70% to 90% range, far higher than necessary.  You feel the bottom of the bucket for cold spots and when all is warm, you use the mallet to finish popping the lid on.  After several hours, you'll notice that the lid will have a hollow to it, sort of like the lids on canning jars after they cool.  This means the food product (grain, beans, flour etc) has absorbed CO2 gas and thereby reduced the amount of atmosphere in the bucket, and now really pulls that lid on tight.  Label it for contents, amount, and date, and put it away.  Grains and rice will last for many decades like this, bug-free, and white flour will last many months.  We don't store whole-anything flours, but store the dried wheat or barley kernels instead ...and we own a Country Living Grain Mill that turns them into fine flour when we need it.


Hope this helps someone.


Brian


PS: If you are doing your storage in a cold region during the winter, and outdoor storage area will usually kill larvae and adults, but may not kill eggs.  I still recommend the CO2 method. 


PPS: We get our dry ice from Arctic Fire & Safety in Fairbanks, AK, but in most locations, dry ice will be available from welding shops and places that ship frozen goods.  The buckets come from the Alaska Feed Company in Fairbanks, a feed-and-seed kind of place (with some human food too).  Your local feed-n-seed place, or Latter Day Saints supply warehouse may have them as well ...but many LDS sites don't let non-members buy things (like us ...we have to go elsewhere.)  For buckets that we open and use more often, not our long-term storage, we use Gamma Seal lids on them.


 


 

smaxson's picture
smaxson

You can also use vinegar and baking soda to get the critters. This will mean not filling buckets to the top, etc., but nestle a glass jar or bowl in the top of the grain in a bucket, put in the vinegar and soda, loosely snug the Gamma Seal lid, then tighten and go away for a couple of days. Be careful (check ahead of time) not to overflow the jar/bowl. Come back later and remove the jar--if you are gentle you can leave a bit of CO2 in the bucket.


Handier than chasing after dry ice.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Wow, I've never heard of vinegar and baking soda to create the CO2, but I guess CO2 is CO2 regardless of source.  I do like how dry ice fills from the bottom up and infuses the food product with gas from below.  For stuff like flour, or items that pack tightly, this gives me more piece of mind.  There are many ways to skin a cat I suppose...


Brian


 

gcook17's picture
gcook17

Since the metal trash can in which my flour stash resides sits right next to the TIG welder it's an easy matter to suffocate those critters with argon.  I know, I know, this is kind of arcane.  Whenever I think about it I realize what a really weird way it is to keep the weevils out of the flour.  I noticed that the Safeway near my house started selling dry ice so whether Al Gore likes it or not, I think I'll start mashing weevils with a carbon footprint.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I've never heard of dry ice being too hard to find.  I had only to Google once and I found it in Fairbanks without a problem ...and finding stuff in Fairbanks is not always easy or even possible.


Brian


PS: Wear fireplace/welding/oven mitts/gloves ...the stuff is cold.


 

JBeddo's picture
JBeddo

Wow this is really great information, Thanks!