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Old 11-22-2009, 01:54 PM
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Hick Industries Hick Industries is offline
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Default Proper Storage of Grain



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I have read a lot of questions concerning the storage of food preps. I understand the need to store canned goods and freeze dried food in metal cans and under cool dry conditions. I built a storage pantry in a back bedroom and storing them under normal house climate conditions is absolutely necessary to enjoy the extensive shelf life of 5-10 years for canned good and 25 yrs for freeze dried entrees in #10 metal cans. If that means you stack them under your bed frame because that is the only storage place left in your house, that should work fine.

But dry grain is different. The enemy of grain storage is moisture and recently harvested grain always contains some residual moisture. Unless it has been completely dried to a very low moisture level or you buy your grain from a reputable company like Walton food or Nitro Pak, placing it immediately in a closed metal or plastic containers is not the very best idea. If you are storing your own produce, you need to be able to dry the grain or it is going to rot.

I grew up on a farm in the midwest and earned a good share of my college tuition money building metal grain bins. Some were designed to force hot dry air through the air and some not, but they were all designed to allow the grain to breath. Small grains like wheat and oats were typically cut and wrapped into shocks, this allowed the grain to dry further before threshing it out. We even used a wooden crib to store ear corn. A crib is designed to allow sufficient air flow to allow the corn to dry naturally and without rotting.

Once you get the grain truly dry, you just need to protect it from insects and mice. Metal cans and plastic pails work fine for this. Oxygen is not the biggest problem with grain and freezing temperatures don't matter at all, as long as the cold temps do not condense moisture out of the air.

The advantage of putting a further moisture proof barrier (Mylar bags) into a plastic container is that it prevents any vapor contaminates (gasoline vapors, bug spray, ag chemicals) which can easily penetrate the plastic from poisoning the grain. If you decide you want to place oxygen absorbers in as well it will certainly keep any insect eggs from hatching (insects breath oxygen as well) but it is not otherwise needed. Insect eggs can be killed by freezing the grain for a few weeks in the chest freezer.

I personally use a number of 5 gal metal cans for my grain storage, but I have not found a new source of these containers. Using plastic pails and Mylar bags is the next best thing. Storing your grain in the garage is alright as long as you don't have a lot of gasoline or chemicals stored in there and as long as the container is absolutely hermetic, that means absolutely vapor proof.
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hick Industries View Post
... But dry grain is different. The enemy of grain storage is moisture and recently harvested grain always contains some residual moisture. Unless it has been completely dried to a very low moisture level or you buy your grain from a reputable company like Walton food or Nitro Pak, placing it immediately in a closed metal or plastic containers is not the very best idea. If you are storing your own produce, you need to be able to dry the grain or it is going to rot.
Yes. Moisture is the primary enemy of grain.

We use a drum-liner bag inside a 55-gallon drum, we fill the drum up to the last 3 -4 inches from the top and I place a cup with desiccant in it, right into the grain. Then we seal the drum.

The desiccant that I use, I got from a floral warehouse. 10% of it turns blue when dry, 10% turns red when wet, and most of it is just white all the time.

We buy grain straight from farmers, and sometimes from mills. $5 to $8 per 50-pound bags.

4 to 6 bags per drum.

After they are loaded and sealed, I go back through them again in two weeks. I remove the old desiccant [which will have turned red] and put in fresh desiccant.

Then all of the red desiccant goes into a cookie sheet and in the oven on low heat for 12 hours until it turns blue again.

Last year I swapped out the desiccants three times, at 2-week intervals, before it had gotten all of the moisture out of the grains.

We do a ton of barley, and of oats, and corn.

The drum liner bag hangs out, so when I put the lid onto the drums, the plastic acts like a gasket, to make a better seal.

I get food-grade drums from a local pastry factory, for free.




Quote:
... Oxygen is not the biggest problem with grain and freezing temperatures don't matter at all, as long as the cold temps do not condense moisture out of the air.
Exactly but O2 absorbing has drawn in a lot of followers. On other forums where I post, many preppers have spent bunches of cash buying O2 absorbers. When truly they should have gotten moisture absorbing gear.



Once winter finally gets here. We shut down our freezer and move all our frozen meat into drums and outside in snow banks. It lowers our electric bill and works fine. No critters are going to tear their way into a steel drum. The same can work with grain storage if you need to freeze your grain to stop worms.
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Old 11-22-2009, 07:55 PM
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The LDS church has been storing wheat since the early 1930 and has developed several well tested methods. I have seen grains that were packed in 1934 that were just fine. They use low mosture hard winter wheat (10% or less). The latest and best method in sealed in #10 cans with an oxygen absorber. Test run by BYU show that this will store for 30 years or more.
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