The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tip - Bugs in Whole Grains

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Tip - Bugs in Whole Grains

All whole grains are subject to bugs and their eggs. The grain is grown in open fields where bugs live and lay their eggs. Many grain distributors take various precautions to eliminate this problem. However infestation is not uncommon. The good news is, they won’t harm you. And they provide a little extra protein. <LOL>

I recently discovered both dead and also a few live weevils in my grain. The very best way to find these tiny creatures is to submerge some grain under water. The pest are light and buoyant. They will float to the top and become obviously visible.

I decided to give my improvised shaker a try. It seems not only is the shaker great for sifting grain, but if a 20 mesh (large holes) screen Is used the vibration will quickly remove the pest. After the grain was cleaned it was placed into a plastic bag and stored in the freezer for a few days to kill off anything that remained, especially the eggs.

For best viewing of video use THIS LINK.

UPdate - After the grain was sifted it was placed in a ZipLok bag and sealed. It was placed in the freezer for a couple of weeks (3 days probably ok). Once removed from the freezer the grain was re-sifted using a #20 mesh. Very little dust and only a few bugs were sifted out. I call this a complete success! Grain Saved...

Danny

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

get those little creatures out of there!  Interesting how much dust they made too.

 I wonder how much protein they would actually add.  Did you weigh them and what % do they make up?  Would roasting them (and their dust) add a positive complex flavour or not.  Send them off to a lab and see what they can contribute!  

No one ready for that yet?  Just wait.  

Who knows, maybe they know the secret to eating tons of carbs and not gaining weight?  If I have to eat raw grain and start laying eggs, it's not for me.  

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

For me the problem is not the bugs or the eggs. As you point out, Dan, that's protein. It's the fact that if they're eating  they therefore have digestive tracts and digestive tracts have and input point and an exit point.I suspect that a sieve capable of isolating that digestive byproduct would have to be made from concrete. The only digestive product of insects that I have any interest in is bee puke, aka honey. I realize that's a fine line but nonetheless I draw it.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Just an Old Guy, if I understand you correctly, you are concerned about the excrement from the pest. Everything smaller than a 20 mesh falls through and is tossed. The berries are saved but everything else is discarded.

The cleanup satisfied me.

SeasideJess's picture
SeasideJess

That's a lot of dust. A lot of grain lost to bug consumption/breakdown. I feel like I should put my 2-gallon gamma-lid buckets of grain currently sitting in my pantry through a rotation through the chest freezer. How long in the freezer to kill bugs and their eggs?

I had to throw my little container of rye berries away into the compost a few weeks ago because it was dusty and webby at the bottom  of the container, and it smelled bad!!!! I don't want to have to do that again.  

Alan.H's picture
Alan.H

Some time ago as I was getting half way through my first batch of grain from a local mill I was puzzled to find a covering of "dust" on the bottom of  the plastic box I keep it in so cleaned it up and thought little more about it. Mills are just dusty places aren't they? But as I got to the end of that batch there was the dust again. This coincided with seeing AndyPanda's "Yikes" post on April 19, 2020 in which he found that he had some unexpected guests in his grain so I  had a closer look at my dust with a 60x magnifier I happened to have. Just a sort of toy really but good enough to show me that I too had been benefiting from extra protein in my bread - tiny bugs and grubs amongst a lot of other bits I prefer not to think about.  So nowadays I shake all my grain in a coarse kitchen sieve to remove everything but the grain and then store it in the freezer. It mills perfectly well from freezing and I can be fairly sure it is now only 100% wheat or rye or whatever else I am milling.

Sid Post's picture
Sid Post

When you freeze and mill frozen grain, doesn't the flower become wet and sticky from condensation?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Sid, you would think so, but that has never happened for me. Freezing the grain is also a great way to minimize heating the flour while milling.

Alan.H's picture
Alan.H

No. The flour is absolutely fine. I do only mill what I need for the current bake, use it immediately and it feels completely dry. I would guess that any condensation moisture picked up by the cold grain is dissipated by the heat generated during the milling process.

Apart from which does anyone know of any other environmentally friendly non-chemical  bugicide method out there?

Sid Post's picture
Sid Post

Thanks everyone!  I guess the heat from grinding the flour takes care of the moisture and coldness induced condensation.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

bugs hate it.  Also check out canning grain in jars.

Alan.H's picture
Alan.H

Thank you Dan and Mini. Interesting ideas on depriving the little B******s of oxygen and/or air but I think chilling them to death in the freezer might be the simplest solution after all.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Re-sifted after freezing and it is bug free. Below is what was removed after passing all of the ~12 pounds through a #20 mesh screen.

Compare that image with the image in the original post.