I have this huge (I think 50 lb.) bucket of hard white wheat berries that I got from a friend who was moving away. I think I've had them for a couple of years (I understand that under the right conditions they can be just fine for a long time), and am just now getting around to thinking about using them. After not using my grain mill for several years now, I was planning today to fire it up, grind some wheat, and hopefully make bread.
So I open up the bucket---it's one of those big food grade buckets that has a tight lid that's very hard to get off---however I don't think the bucket is airtight.
1. Bugs. Not a lot of bugs, but one here and one there. I think they are little moths. The ones that I discovered near the top were dead and looked like they'd been dead for quite some time. I haven't dug to the bottom to see if there are a lot of bugs, or just a few.
2. I'm not sure, but the berries might be rancid. I didn't know this could happen to whole wheat berries, but they have an odor. Not a knock-you-off-your-feet odor, but an odor nonetheless. I'm just not sure whether this is a normal wheat odor, or a rancid odor---I've never really had whole wheat berries before so I'm not sure what they're supposed to smell like.
Searching around on the web, I gather that we would be shocked to know how many ground up dead bugs are in our commercial flour and grain products, because well, bugs get in there. So I'm wondering...if I do my best to get most of the bugs out and go ahead and grind up the wheat, will it be safe to use provided we can get past the ick factor of the fact that I may have missed some bugs?
Can I wash the berries (trying to pick out the bugs while doing it), dry them out and then proceed with grinding them into flour?
And as for the possible rancid-ness...how can I know? Should I just make something, see how it tastes, and if it's acceptable just go with it? If it was rancid would it be harmful to our health?
I'm sure some readers will think "oh for crying out loud that is disgusting just throw them away!" But I know that not everyone here will be grossed out, so I thought it would be worth asking. :)
I'd grind some up and taste the flour - if it tastes off as flour, I'd probably pass, and either compost it or feed it to animals (chickens, goats, etc). You can also try washing it and letting it dry to try to get rid of the bugs.
here's some of the reason i would not even try to use them. yeah it hurts. its a 50 pound bucket.
1. you've had them for 2 years. how long has your friend had them.
2. bugs dont bother me. just extra protein. i have eaten them. however you seem to have had series of bug infestations. not just a one time deal.
3. they are hard.
4. the odor. i am sure the odor is from 2 things. bugs and spoilage due to dampness.
its no. 3 and 4 that get to me. just the odor.
i think even if you wash them, they will taste different. in fact i bet you when you try to wash them, most of the wheat berry will float since the bugs drilled in them. usually when i am cleaning out bug stuff (that is washing them before i cook) i make sure the floaties are thrown out.
why dont you experiment. wash a handful of the wheat berries. soak them overnight. next day rinse out the water, cover it with a towel making sure the berries are damp and see if they sprout. give the sprouting process 3 days.
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