Monday, August 3, 2009

Food Storage - Wheat Storage Tip

Wheat is a food grain that has very good nutritional value. It contains large amounts of protein and several nutrients necessary to promote good health, including calcium and niacin among others. When storing wheat for long term storage, it is necessary to kill or destroy any bugs, microorganisms and weevil eggs that may be present in the wheat. Failure to do so may leave you with a large amount of contaminated wheat.

One of the simplest and safest ways to store wheat is to use “food grade” diatomaceous earth. Make sure that you use only “food grade” because the diatomaceous earth used in pool filters may contain algaecides and fungicides that are harmful if consumed. Using food grade diatomaceous earth is a simple, safe and inexpensive method to get rid of those pesky "critters" that may contaminate your wheat when being stored for long term purposes. Diatomaceous earth is also very easy to use and requires no special skills or preparation.

Most wheat is usually stored in 5 gallon “food grade” buckets for long term purposes. Treating wheat with food grade diatomaceous earth for storage in a 5 gallon container is a simple and easy process. Simply add approximately 1 1/2 cups of food grade diatomaceous earth to each 5 gallon bucket or container. Mix the food grade diatomaceous earth into your wheat as you are putting it in your storage bucket. Then to thoroughly mix the two, put the lid on and simply turn your bucket on the side and roll it around to mix the wheat and diatomaceous earth together so that all the wheat is coated. The wheat can be used as is, since the food grade diatomaceous earth is organic and the consumption of it is not harmful to people or other animals. The wheat can also be rinsed with water and dried but this step is not required in order to make the wheat usable.



CAUTION: Diatomaceous earth can be a respiratory hazerd and care should be taken not to breathe in the dust particles. Use a good dusk mask. It also is highly absorptive and can dry your your skin out if handled without gloves. Use a good pair of gloves to protect your hands when working with diatomaceous earth.

Both pool grade and organic (i.e., the natural form) diatomaceous earth come from the same sources. They are processed quite differently however. The organic grades are dried and ground up. As an additional part of the process, the pool grade is often chemically treated and heated which causes the silica in diatomaceous earth to form crystalline silica which can be a health hazard. The natural form contains non-crystalline silica and this is not a hazard to the human body which can usually dissolve it without any problems when ingested.

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

I've read another grain long term storage technique is to place the grain in a freezer for a period of time (2 days - week) to kill any eggs or varmints that hitched a ride on that grain - might want to do a search on this topic as well. Here is one such link:

DE though is a killer on insects - insect exoskeleton is affected by it.

Thanks for post RW.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:32

Using the freezer method will destroy all the live bugs in your wheat but this is done over a longer period of time. While this method is rather simple it does require you to re-freeze the wheat again after a couple of weeks or longer because weevil eggs aren’t usually killed by freezing. Re-freezing after a couple of weeks will destroy any bugs that hatched after your initial freeze treatment. The wheat should be frozen for several days (minimum) at temperatures as close to zero degrees as possible. Chest type freezers work best for this method of preparing wheat for long term storage. This method also works well for cornmeal. Thanks.


Marie said...

Appreciate the information in the post and the comments--haven't tried this method yet, or the freezer method, but it's good to know different options. Where do you get that kind of earth? Thanks in advance for your help.

Anonymous said...

Marie - you can get DE from agricultural feed supply stores or ebay. Just make sure you get the "food grade". The prices I've seen are 50 pounds for about $25. It is much much more expensive for smaller amounts from places like Ace hardware, etc.


Grumpyunk said...

Thanks, RW. I just came into 200+ lbs of wheat the other day. Darn if I don't have a big bag of DE that I'd forgotten about.

You probably saved me a lot of trouble.

American Prepper said...

I heard DE is good for organic this true, and will watering the garden dissolve it to the point it wont work anymore?

riverwalker said...

To: Marie

You can get it at most garden supply or feed stores. I personally use the freezer method to keep the bugs out of my cornmeal. Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: Jack

Thanks for the heads up to Marie on where to obtain DE. Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: Grumpyunk

Glad the inadvertent reminder was helpful.


riverwalker said...

To: American Prepper

Food grade DE is 100 % organic.

Dust your plants or the area around them to help control slugs or other crawling insects. It can be used as a food additive for your animals to control worms or parasites. It's also great for fly control and to kill fleas and bed bugs. It's also used as a filtering agent for water, in cat litter and in toothpaste because of its mild abrasive properties.

It can cause respiratory problems if you breathe a lot of the dust and care should be taken in this regard. Just use a good dust mask.


Anonymous said...

Thank you RW on that 're-freeze information', I had no idea but it makes total sense - very good to know!

John Wesley said...

Good info on diatomaceous earth. We used it once when storing rice. As for buckets, Miller's Grain House has storage pails with lids that are easier to work with than most. There's a video about this at . Miller's sells organic grains, too.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 6:28

Freezing will work but you need the extra step of re-freezing to kill any bugs that hatch out. Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: John Wesley

Thanks for the link about the buckets!


Paul said...

"...will watering the garden dissolve it to the point it wont work anymore?"

When DE gets wet it clumps together. Regarding critters, it only works because the sharp exoskeletons of the dead diatoms cuts into the exoskeletons of the live critters. It kills them because the waxy outer coating is scratched, and they dehydrate to death (this takes a couple of days).

Replace the DE if you water it.

riverwalker said...

To: Paul

Thanks for the heads up to everyone about the clumping of DE when it gets wet!


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