The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing Wheat Berries in Vacuum Sealed Food Saver Bags?

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

Storing Wheat Berries in Vacuum Sealed Food Saver Bags?

The family here has a Food Saver Machine and we were wondering if we can put wheat berries in these vacuum sealed bags for LONG term storage?

If so, do they need to be refrigerated, freezed, or can they just sit on a shelf in the pantry without going bad?

I was going to portion them out per recipe size. For example: if a particular recipe called for 3 cups of flour, I wanted to make something like 50, 3 cup bags of wheat berries.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I store my grains in food grade plastic pails with Gamma Lids and have never had a problem.  Had some wheat stored for maybe 10 years and no problem....A 5 gallon pail will hold 50 lbs of grain.  I store my grains in our basement. Buckets are about 5.00 each and lids about the same at restaurant supply stores.  Can be bought off line but more expensive.

I imagine you can use the food saver but it seems like a lot of work and more difficult to store - bags more prone to being torn etc.

Janet

 

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

Janet, what are Gamma Lids?  I am getting my first 50 pound bag of organic red whole wheat from Azure Standard early next month and need to set up some storage solution.  I can hit the restaurant supply store I guess.  Just wondering what those lids are.

cjjjdeck's picture
cjjjdeck

Hi loafgeek

The thred is a bit dated but since I saw your post, I'll give my explaination just in case Janet hasn't seen this yet.

Gamma seal lids fit on 5, 6 & 7 gallon buckets.  It comes in two pieces.  An outer ring with a seal embedded in it that you pound on the rim of the bucket with a rubber mallet.  Thr inner part of ths ring has a thread molded into it.  The second part is an inner lid that screws into the matching threads of the outer ring and it too has a seal.  It's a great product for use on a storage bucket that will get regular use.  Here's a link to Gamma2's site and the Gamma Seal Lid page:

http://www.gamma2.net/gamma-seal-lid.htm

They are available from many on line stores, they are even in Home Depot and relatively inexpensive (usually under $10.00, HD has it for under $7.00 in my area).  The lid is food grade, just make sure you use it with a food grade bucket. 

loafgeek's picture
loafgeek

Thanks for the reply!  I'll be picking one up wherever I can find one.  I'll be getting the 5 gallon bucket from a brewer or restaurant supply store--so it should be food grade (I'll make sure).  Thanks!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

cjjg...explained it well. HERE is the site I have purchased from in the past. They have quite a variety of colors which is nice if you have several grains to store.    There is a video too that shows how they work.  They also sell the pails if you can't get them locally.  

Good Luck! 

Janet

linder's picture
linder

I do the same as Janet - store in tightly covered food grade plastic pails.  We go thru the wheatberries fast enough that it's reallly not worth the time and effort to do otherwise. 

agriFresh's picture
agriFresh

I think that it is more important to keep them sealed depending on where you live.  If you live in an area with high humidity, for instance, it may be more important than if you lived in a drier climate.  I know it's possible because I've done it using a FoodSaver machine I bought at Target.  I was initially worried that the wheat berries would puncture the bag but the bags are thick enough it wasn't a problem.  

There is a family farm in Colorado that sells hard red winter wheat berries online that come already in vacuum sealed bags.  I think the bags are like 2.5 pounds of wheat berries so about the right amount for a couple loaves of bread.  You can check them out online here, http://www.dodsworthfarms.com.  

 

PlicketyCat's picture
PlicketyCat

The best storage method really depends on how long you actually intend to store the item. If you're looking at the possibility of 10-30 years, I would recommend using mylar bags instead of regular foodsaver bags as they are even more airtight and help guard as oxidation and incidental sunlight as well. You can vacuum out the oxygen and seal them in your FoodSaver, or you can use an oxygen absorber to remove every last trace of O2 and just use the FoodSaver to seal them. As long as the berries are completely dry when they go in, stay dry, relatively cool, and out of the sunlight they will last "indefinitely". If you're packing on a humid day or aren't sure if your berries are completely dry, you can always put a desiccant pack in the pouch for added protection. Then pack all your pre-measured bags of grain into 5-6 gallon buckets with gamma lids (any gasketed lid would work, but gamma lids are very convenient).

Since I live in the bush, I store a lot of dry bulk staples in usable sizes of ziploc mylar bags and use my FoodSaver to vacuum out the air with the attachment tube, but don't heat seal them just zipper them since I intend to use them within a year or two. Not heat sealing them makes them more reusable since you don't have to cut them open.  Then I store a variety of these pouches in "monthly" buckets with gamma lids. The added benefit is that I can use this method to store all the dry ingredients (dry milk, powdered eggs, shortening powder, yeast, sugar, baking soda, seasonings, etc) for a recipe in small pouches within a larger pouch of the main ingredient (whole grains, pasta, dry potatoes, etc) and then only need to add water, oil, honey or other wet ingredients when I prepare it... much more cost effective and customizable than the commercial box or "camping/hiking" meals.

I tend to keep the regular FoodSaver bags for use in the freezer or for foods I know will be consumed in a year or less since they aren't as hermetic for truly long-term storage. They also come in handy for packing dry ingredients for the larger mylar pouches, especially if the ingredient in question is liable to poke a hole in a normal Ziploc bag.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

You need to weigh your three cups of flour and make bags of that weight of grain. Three cups of grain will make more than three cups of flour. When I was first testing the idea of milling all my own flour, I found that 1 cup of grain weighed 7 oz and one cup of flour weighed 5.25 oz. That was when I decided to start baking by weights. I only wanted to mill what I needed, because at the beginning I was using a manual mill. I've since graduated to an electric mill, but I still bake by weights.

Like Janet, I keep my whole grain in plastic buckets with gamma lids. I order grain in 25- or 50-pound bags, depending on what is available. I've never kept any for as long as Janet has, but I've had no problem with rancidity or other spoilage. I keep my buckets in the living area of my house, near the laundry area and the door to the garage. So far, at least, mice have not detected the presence of food inside those buckets. I keep an eye out for any signs that they have, because mice can chew through plastic quite handily.

cjjjdeck's picture
cjjjdeck

Just a comment on my experience of what volume different buckets hold.

I recently purchased a 50lb bag of wheat berries and have a 6 gal bucket and Gamma top.  I couldn't fit all 50 lbs in the 6 gal bucket.  It looks like the 6 gal bucket will hold up to 45 lbs of wheat berries.  Based on my 6 gal bucket experience, I assume the 7 gal bucket size will accomodate 50 lbs (since I put what didn't fit into the bucket into a gallon zip lock bag).  A 5 gal bucket should accomodate 25-35 lbs.