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2.16.2011

It was right in front of my eyes.

Izzy and Daddy grinding flour.
I have spent a significant amount of time over the last year or so trying to figure out the most cost effective ways to buy whole grains.  Actual, unadulterated, unprocessed whole grains. Whole grains can be kept for years without any lost nutrition as long as it is kept dry and away from pests (and at a relatively constant moderate temp), which allows for buying and storing in bulk to reduce costs and ensure emergency stores of food.  Whole grains are also more healthful and nutritious.

Fun fact- when white flour first became widely available, it was not only promoted as producing better tasting baked goods, but also as actually being HEALTHIER.  (corporate America mislead us? never)  The reasons given by white flour supporters; first, the bran (the outer coating of the wheat) contains an enzyme inhibitor that can prevent it from being properly digested by most people (which is also why many people get gassy when they eat whole grains... this is also, by the way, why all whole grains should be soaked) and in isolated cases can cause other health problems.  Secondly, the oil in the germ very quickly goes rancid once it has been ground into flour, and rancid oil is NOT healthy- rancid oil contains free radicals that have been associated with cancer (and this, btw, is why I want to grind my own... that, and rancid flour is bitter, while fresh flour is not- in fact, the bitter flavor that most people associate with whole grains is because of rancidity).

I don't know if you've noticed, but there are no 25lb. bags of wheat or oats in most grocery stores.  Some health food stores sell some grains in bulk bins, but buying the little bags never fulfilled my desire to buy a LOT of grain to store, and it was often far too expensive.  I always wanted to ask at our local health food store in CA if I could buy the big bags they filled the bulk bins out of and perhaps get a bulk discount, but I never did because I am a big. fat. CHICKEN (did someone say chickens?  that's another post...).  And although I love getting discounts, I hate asking for them because I think it makes people sound petty to quibble over a small amount of money.  And ordering grains online was price prohibitive- shipping almost always doubled the price of the grain.

I'm going to digress for a moment- I found out last month that my local grocery co-op, Spiral Natural Foods, was getting evicted from their building and had to get $14,000 together by this past Tuesday in order to be able to move to a new location.  I was in town, so I stopped by to ask if they met their goal and to grab a bottle of kombucha to start my own culture (does that violate my no grocery thing? I say no).  Thankfully they did get enough pledges to be able to move (I, of course, contributed). 

And then I realized that they also have bulk bins.  I mean, I didn't JUST realize it, but I did realize that I should ask them about buying the bulk products in... bulk.  So I gathered my courage and asked.  And guess what?  No one was mean to me!  Because that is usually my fear.  Actually, they were really nice, and they pointed out that, as a member of the co-op, not only could I order anything in bulk from them (as a special order), but I get 10% off the already reasonable price!  And all I had to do was ask...

So I ordered a 25lb bag of spelt and a 25lb bag of oat groats.  Now I just need to determine how long those and the 50lbs of wheat I bought a few weeks ago will last us.  I'm guessing it will last a while... roughly speaking, 50lbs of wheat= 50lbs of flour, and I just went through 25lbs (5 bags) of whole wheat flour in a few months of baking everything.

And I'm curious about how I will feel about it once I start exclusively grinding with my mill, which is a fine mill in general but doesn't grind flour as fine as some of the pricier mills.  We shall see.

1 comment:

Nadia said...

You're really making me curious about this 'grinding your own flour' thing... I know it would most certainly make me WAY over the top crunchy and the hubby may make fun of me to no end, but still, I am intrigued. It's worth considering. I Can't wait to read more about it...

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