All right. Sit back, kick off the shoes, grab your cup of coffee, and get ready for a somewhat long post for today.
I got you in here by promising to give you some awesome and amazing recipes for crackers.
And I promise you, I am totally going to do that.
In fact, I will give you recipes for crackers, tortillas, and english muffins.
Some things just need to be said today that cant wait another day.
I want to talk about why YOU should be making your own stuff, and why you should seriously think about doing one of two things:
  1. Investing in a wheat grinder and milling your own flour from wheat grains (“wheat berries”)
  2. Stocking up on as much flour, and corn products as your home, freezer, shelves, etc, can hold for the time that we are facing ahead of us this fall.
You heard me right.
This fall.
Because I have to be honest with you, I think we are in for some super tough times ahead, and it is coming quickly.
   I am sure you know I live in a rural and agricultural area. Our little town is surrounded by acres of corn and soybeans, and just east of us is where most of our state’s sweet corn is grown. Just south of us is where most of the nation’s (and the world’s) corn for feed and manufacturing is grown. To the West is where the majority of our wheat for supplying the nation is grown.
And I am telling you, folks, a lot of those places are in trouble.
They are plowing under crops.
Thousands upon thousands of acres of crops.
It is dying, or close to being there, with no rain in sight.
   We are fortunate to live in one of the only regions that is showing ‘abnormally dry’ without seeing too many side effects…yet. We will have a corn crop, and a soybean crop, and I am sure there are farmers who are doing well with their Spring wheat crops that are being harvested now.
the corn crop looks good here…….this was taken yesterday.
But it seems we are definitely in the minority this year.
Here are a couple links for you to read to see for yourself:
   If you read the above links, one a well known paper, and one a blog where the blogger has been scarily accurate over the last couple of months, you will end up coming down to this: right now only 40% of the corn crop is in good condition, in the nation, and it has dropped from 48% just one week ago. Add in a very low amount of corn stored, add in no end in sight to the heat and lack of rain, and from there…well, you can make your own conclusions.
And as to wheat, Montana has already lost a large portion of its Spring Wheat crop, although the Dakotas are doing ok. Add that in to your own conclusions. It is sobering at best. Yes, we feel for the farmers who are losing crops, but they have crop insurance. There is no insurance for not having enough food to supply the needs of your nation, let alone the needs of the world.I was going to be giving just a light-hearted blog post about grinding your own wheat, and how it seriously saves you money….but the warnings are starting to ring out all over the news. You can see for yourself just how bad things can get if there is a shortage on wheat and corn. Did you know that corn is in 75% of our basic foods (processed) that you get on the shelf? And prices have been outrageous since corn hit an all-time high last year with a smaller corn crop and so much of it being processed into ethanol.
    But you add in the wheat crop too, and I am telling you, people are going to have to start choosing between paying bills and feeding their family. Some already are. But this can, and will make things much worse.
   So quick, let me tell you why wheat is a great thing to store, and why you should look into buying a wheat grinder.
download July 2012 153
   Stored properly, wheat (and corn) will last for 30 years with no noticeable change in quality or nutrition. So look at wheat as an investment that holds its worth for a really long time. We store ours in simple metal trash cans with good sturdy liners—the metal makes them rodent-proof, and the liners keep the oxygen out to increase the shelf life—putting the wheat in “limbo” so to speak. Using this method, you can buy a good amount at one time, depending on your amount of storage space, and in a year, it will still make just as good of flour as it started out with 12 months earlier. Now multiply that times 30 and you are beginning to see why wheat is a good, shelf-stable storage food for anyone looking to get serious about saving money on grocery bills.
   You can purchase flour, and store that, but that has a shelf life of 1-3 years for All Purpose and Bread Flour, whereas Whole Wheat flour begins to go rancid within a couple weeks of being ground due to the high wheat germ oil content. Flour also loses its nutrition very fast, whereas the wheat kernel keeps everything nice and stable until you are ready to make it into flour.
 And that is where this little baby comes in. A wheat grinder takes the kernels and pulverizes them into fresh ground flour that is chock full of goodness, and nutrition.
Things made from whole wheat are also more filling, and better for your body, so you will find that your family eats less over time and fills up more quickly.
Best part about the grinder is that it grinds more than wheat.
It grinds popcorn.(base for cornbread, masa, grits, etc)
It grinds rice. (can you say gluten-free flour or rice milk?)
It grinds beans (instant refried beans anyone?).
And A whole lot MORE.
So for the investment you make with it, the yield is great.
Since wheat is what I have on hand, let me show you some simple calculations by which I figure out how much it costs me to make bread just by pricing the flour.
  • my grinder handles 6 cups of wheat berries at a time, and returns to me 9 cups of WW flour. Weight is the same, volume is different.
  • a 25 lb bag of wheat berries, as pictured next to the grinder, will give me 81 cups of flour, for the cost of roughly $13 (right now as of this post). That means I can make a little over 11 batches of my Farmer Bread, which gives me 33 loaves of bread for that $13 cost. That means my cost for the flour is about 39 cents a loaf. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and you are looking at a cost of less than 50 cents for a loaf of WW bread that is only full of yumminess and health for whomever gets to eat it.( I know that may seem low to you, but a year ago those same calculations meant my flour was costing me around 25 cents a loaf of bread. Amazing how something so basic could have jumped that much in price. However, I think we are headed for much much worse………..)
  • a 25 lb bag of wheat berries will fit in roughly 4 gallon freezer bags, so that helps you think of how much space some wheat can take up. You can fill a 5 gallon bucket with lids (get them for f ree from bakeries and delis) with about 35 lbs of wheat berries.

In contrast—have you priced a loaf of bread lately?? Even at the day-old bread store, where you get what the bread companies are trying to get rid of since they were pulled off the shelf with short date codes, you can not get a single loaf of bread (any kind) for under $1.00. And most of what I see offered is NOT healthy or filling.

   Or even consider buying your own flour and using that instead. You will still pay more per loaf than if you just saved and invested in a wheat grinder…and as I said, flour only has a short shelf life unless it is kept in the freezer. And we all know what can happen when a storm or something blows through and knocks the power out to those freezers as it did to many across the nation this last couple of weeks. The wheat berries will patiently wait for you to get to them, and remain unchanged. The flour continues to age as it waits to be used. But even with all that, what would you rather do, pay $3 a loaf or make your own for 50 cents a loaf? Seriously?
   Is this making sense?
Readers, with a potential crop loss in the thousands of acres of two of the basic staples of life, I am telling you, it doesn’t make sense to wait if you can help it. Your wheat grinder will pay for itself in no time, and your family will thank you….as will your bank account when the money stays in there longer. Mine had paid for itself within 6 months of purchasing it, and has saved me more than I can count at this time.
I hope you forgive me for hijacking your attention span and your anticipated post on crackers, how to make them, and giving you ideas from my recipe box.
But what good are crackers if you cant afford the wheat or corn to make them with?
God bless you all~~ I think our time to avoid a lot of the tough stuff is really short now, and I have to encourage you to step out and do things while you still can.
Many Blessings to you and yours,