Rice is one of the most versatile home-storage products. White rice stores well long-term and creates a complete protein when served with beans (which means it contains all of the essential amino acids4). BYU researchers recently studied the palatability of white rice and parboiled rice after many years of storage. Both were acceptable for emergency use after 30 years of storage, though the parboiled rice did show some decline of flavor, appearance and acceptance. 2

There are three categories of rice:
Long-grain - This is the most common rice available. It is more soft than sticky.
Medium-grain - Soft texture with a stronger flavor.
Short-grain - Is a stickier rice with a stronger, sweeter flavor.

Rice can be purchased in several forms (differing by amount of processing):
Brown - Has a nutty flavor. Still has the hull intact and consequently goes rancid more quickly because of the oils in the grain. Stores well for only 6 months under average conditions.3 Can extend the shelf-life by storing in the fridge. 1
White - Hull and outer layers have been removed. Rice is typically enriched to re-add the lost nutrients, though it remains inferior nutritionally. It stores well in ideal conditions for 30 years or more.8
Parboiled/Converted7 - Rice is partially cooked by parboiling. Hull is removed, but converted rice retains more of its original vitamins and nutrients.
Instant/minute/easy/quick - Rice is precooked and dried. Is the least nutritious rice.5

There are over 100,000 varieties/flavors of rice including:
- It is a variety of long grain rice. You can purchase either a white or brown version.6 It is typically produced in India and Pakistan.
Jasmine - This is also a long grain rice. You might have this rice served with Thai food.
Calrose - A medium grain rice developed in California. It is common to find this rice in Hawaii or the South Pacific.

Wild rice
is not actually a rice, but is harvested from grasses similar in genus to rice.

Generally, rice is reconstituted by bringing 2 parts water to a boil and adding one part rice, covering and lowering heat to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Salt and oil/butter can be added with the rice or after cooking. Quick rice has cooking requirements that are different.

White rice is a sure bet for 30+ years of longer-term storage in ideal conditions. All varieties would be appropriate for inclusion in your three-month supply.

Personal note: I recently purchased some aged basmati rice. I thoroughly inspected the packaging, trying to determine whether the rice was white or brown. I am unfamiliar enough with this rice that I couldn't tell and the package did not indicate. So, I'm am including the basmati rice as part of my three-month supply meals and not my longer-term storage.



Corn can be a great addition to your longer-term storage grains. In optimum conditions, corn will store as long as 30 years. Dry corn, like wheat, can be ground in a grinder to make corn meal or corn flour (both of which have very short shelf-lives and cannot be stored long term). There are specific grinders made just for corn, but these are unnecessary if you already have a good grinder. 4

There are three main kinds of corn suitable for long storage. All three kinds can be ground into flour or meal or popped for popcorn. However, Dent corn makes a better flour and Flint corn makes a better meal. Popcorn, which is the most widely available corn, has a higher moisture content (13 to 15%) to make it pop well.1 For optimum storage life, there should be less than 10% moisture in the corn at packing. So, it will probably not store as well as the other two varieties. All of these corns are available in different colors. The vitamin and nutrient content of the different colors vary some. Vitamin A, which can be in short supply in times of need, is more available from the yellow corn.1 Seed corn is not suitable for food storage because it is treated with a fungicide.6

It is possible to reconstitute dry corn. However, it does not typically work with commercially varieties of dried corn.3 If you dry your own Sweet corn you are more likely to have success. The shelf life, however, of your own dried, sweet corn is uncertain. The corn we grow in our gardens contains a fair amount of sugar and will spoil quickly. So, I wouldn't plan on drying and/or reconstituting sweet corn for long-term storage.

1 -
Selecting & Buying Grains (Alan T. Hagan)
2 -
Many Tracks
3 -
4 -
Harvest Essentials - Ktec
5 -
USA Emergency Supply
6 - University of Wisconsin Extention



Oats are another grain which store well long term. Almost all edible forms of whole oats, including groats, are dehulled and heat processed to stabilize the oil content.3 Because of this stabilizing process, oat products do not as readily become rancid. A recent study done by BYU1 showed that rolled-oats stored in #10 cans were still considered acceptable for emergency consumption after 30 years. Rolled oats were preferred over quick oats in taste tests of the samples that had been stored long-term. The amount of oxygen present in the storage containers significantly affected the taste quality. So, it is important to make sure that rolled oats are stored with oxygen absorbers in sturdy, quality containers that maintain their seals.

I have seen a recent trend of families storing whole-oat groats (which are the heat-processed and dehulled oat seeds), and purchasing a roller to create their own rolled oats. Certainly, if you love freshly rolled oats and can afford the roller or attachment, which can cost from $75 to $500, this is an acceptable choice. However, given BYU's study showing that rolled oats can be stored well long term, you might choose instead to store carefully packaged rolled oats and apply your savings to other areas of home storage.

Oats are available in several different forms:
Oat Groats - The dehulled and heat/steam stabilized oat seed.
Rolled Oats - Groats that have been rolled. Also called old-fashioned.
Quick Oats - Oats that are rolled more thinly than rolled oats and steamed to reduce cooking time. Do not store as well as rolled oats.1
Steel Cut Oats - Groats that are chopped with a sharp blade into small pieces.

Just as I've mentioned with all of the other grains, it is important that the moisture content of your oats be less than 10% at storage.

1 -
BYU Food Storage Research
2 - Selecting & Buying Grains (Alan T. Hagan)
3 - Can-Oat Milling
4 - Wikipedia: Oats (see kilning)

Photo Credit:
Anson Mills


storing grains

This is just a quick reminder that our current goal is storing grains for your longer-term storage. Oats, corn, wheat, white rice, and pasta are all great choices for extra long storage shelf-lives. Store them in PETE bottles, #10 cans, buckets (if you live in a dry climate), or foil pouches in a cool, dry, dark area. Click here to see suggested amounts of grain storage.

I'm including a poll at iPrepared today. Let me know how you are doing.

Look for upcoming posts on corn, rice, oats, pasta, and grinders.


make your own sanitizer

Sanitizer can be expensive and hard to find. But you can make your own. It is recommended that you have at least 60% total alcohol content. Studies show that alcohol concentrations below 60% are actually ineffective in eliminating bacteria and in fact actually "mobilize the bacteria, spreading them around the hand instead of killing them."1 Some sanitizers available for purchase do not meet the minimum standard or alcohol content. Read labels carefully to determine their effectiveness.

Sanitizer does not replace the need for a good hand washing with soap and water. Soil, blood and fecal contamination are not eliminated by sanitizer. Sanitizer should be used to supplement, not replace soap and water.

Sanitizer A
  • 4 cups 70% rubbing alcohol
  • 4 teaspoons of glycerin or other moisturizer like aloe vera (available at health food stores). 3
Sanitizer B
  • 98% alcohol
  • 2% glycerin 4
Sanitizer C (Recipe from Utah Preppers - 63% alcohol. They include pictures.)
  • 5 cups 91% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • 2 cups 100% pure Aloe Gel
  • Essential oil drops can be added for scent. 5
2 - CDC


pandemic preparedness

The time to prepare for a pandemic is NOT when you hear about it on the news. As we've seen the past few weeks, anything considered as an essential supply in a pandemic situation quickly disappears off of the shelves. Masks, gloves and sanitizer were sold-out almost overnight once the news about swine flu hit. Many expressed surprise about not finding these things on the store shelves. I confess that I was not surprised. I had attempted to buy masks and gloves several years ago. Even then stock was very low, not because people were buying them up, but, I think, because stores don't typically sell much and consequently don't stock much. Wal-Mart only had one choice of masks (and only two or three boxes). I'm sure low supplies sold out in a manner of minutes this past month.

Now that the fervor and fear about the flu has lessened a bit, it may be a good time to stock up for your own preparedness supplies. Many retailers have stated that they requested additional stock. Though it might take a while to arrive, keep your eyes opened for opportunities and maybe even some *sale* prices as retailers clear this inventory if demand wanes.

*Three Month Supply (basic foods that you normally eat) - Having food on hand can allow you to avoid the grocery store and reduce any potential exposure.
*Water Supply - Potentially allows you to stay home and avoid exposure.
*First Aid Kit - Always a good idea to have this around.
*Disinfectants (spray or wipes) - Use these to clean doorknobs, switches, faucet handles, appliance handles, toilet handles, phones and any other commonly used or potentially infected surfaces.
*Bleach - Can be used to disinfect laundry and dishes. Use of a dishwasher and a hot washer AND dryer can also disinfect.
*Masks (N-95) - A mask is most helpful if the SICK person is wearing it. This reduces possible droplet transmission to anyone else in the room/home/location.
*Gloves - For use in treating an infected family member or cleaning infected surfaces. Remove carefully to reduce cross contamination.
*Garbage Bags - for disposal of infected items.
*Prescription Medications - Again, these help you avoid having to go to the store.
*Health Supplies (pain relievers, cold/cough medicines, stomach/diarrhea medications) - Aid the comfort of anyone who is sick.
*"Sick" Foods (fluids with electrolytes, Jello, crackers, applesauce, etc.) - These are good foods for someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.
*Other (surgical gown, waterproof apron, disposable shoe covers, safety goggles or face shield) - These items would be extremely helpful if you are caring for someone who is sick. If you don't have a room that could be used to isolate someone who is sick, some plastic sheeting would also be useful to help you create an isolation area.




Purchasing wheat can be confusing and overwhelming. All of the red, white, winter, spring, soft, and hard combinations can make your head spin. If you just want a recommendation -- and don't want to know the whys -- I recommend purchasing hard-white wheat. It's a good, mild tasting wheat that makes great bread.

Now for those of you who want more information:

Wheat Characteristics:
*RED/WHITE: Red has a nuttier, stronger flavor. White wheat has a more mild flavor. Red wheat grinds up with a darker brown hue. White wheat, as the name suggests, is light in color.
*SPRING/WINTER: This just refers to the time that the crop was harvested.
*HARD/SOFT: Hard wheat has a higher protein content and is good for most baking situations. Wheat kernel is smaller and harder. Soft wheat has lower protein and higher starch. Soft wheat is usually used for pastries and not bread or all-purpose baking.

I love this characterization by Donna Miller, owner of Millers Grain House:
"To sum up - color is a choice for taste and look, while hard or soft is a choice for type of recipe."

Specific Varieties:
*Hard RED Spring - High protein content. Good for breads and gluten.
*Hard RED Winter - High protein content. Flavor is more mellow than red/spring wheat.
*Soft RED - Low protein. Not as good for bread - better for pastries.
*Hard WHITE - Medium protein content. Good for bread.
*Soft WHITE - Very low protein content. Not good for bread. Typically used for pastries.

Ways to Use Wheat:
BERRIES: Wheat is boiled to resemble rice. Term is also used to describe the uncooked kernel.
BULGAR: Wheat has been parboiled, dried, debranned, and ground to make it fast to cook.
CRACKED: Wheat that is milled at a very coarse setting or is just "cracked. Is good for use in hot cereals.
FLAKES: Wheat that is rolled.
GLUTEN: The protein found in wheat. You can buy/make gluten.
GROUND: Wheat is processed in a grinder to make flour.
SPROUTS: When wheat is planted and watered as seeds.

Other Kinds of Wheat:
DURUM: Used to make pasta flour.


It is important that wheat be clean at storage. Oxygen absorbers help keep pests at bay. These can be used in #10 cans, PETE bottles and Mylar bags. A dry ice treatment can be used to clean the wheat if you live in a very dry climate and are repackaging into buckets. Keep wheat in a dry, cool area for an optimum storage life.


About 1 in 100 people has an allergy to the protein in wheat. All forms of wheat have this protein present. So test it out on your family before you buy a lot.


Don't pass up storing wheat just because you don't have a grinder. As you can see from the definitions, there are many other ways to use wheat. I'll be doing a post on grinders soon.

Walton Feed - Good overview.
The Fresh Loaf - Pictures that show the differences between red and white wheat as cooked in breads.
Sunnyland Mills - About bulgar wheat.


the price of grains

If you are just beginning to purchase grains for your longer-term storage, you might not have a sense of what makes for a good price. Here are some baseline *good* prices for some basic grains to use as a comparison:

*41 lb bags of popcorn - $31.90 (Walton Feed - needs to be repacked)

*25 lbs - $9.80 (LDS Home Storage Centers - needs to be repacked)
*#10, 2.6/2.7 quick/regular can of oats - $2.55/$2.60 (through LDS Home Storage Centers)

*#10, 3.5 lb can of macaroni - $4.00 (LDS Home Storage Centers)

There was a run on rice recently which drove the prices up. The prices seem to be dropping right now.
*50 lb bags of long-grain rice - 23.99 (at Costco -- needs to be repacked)
*25 lb bag of white rice - $11.35 (LDS Home Storage Centers - needs to be repacked)
*#10, 5.7 lbs of white rice - $4.10 (LDS Home Storage Centers)

*45 lbs buckets of prepacked clean wheat - $16.99 (I found this price two years ago through Lehi Roller Mills. The price skyrocketed up to as much as $28 per bucket, but has since dropped down to $18.99 - which is what I recently saw at our Associated Foods store).
*25 lbs of clean, double bagged wheat - $8 to $10 (doesn't have to be repacked).
*25 lbs of clean wheat - $8 (needs to be repacked)
*#10, 5 lb. can of wheat - $3 (through LDS Home Storage Centers)

You will probably find that the *good* prices for your area vary considerably. It pays to become familiar with the availability and cost of these grains. Then you will be better equipped to maximize your dollar when purchasing grains for your longer-term storage.



What if I'm allergic to wheat?

Wheat allergies and the need for special diets because of other allergies or health concerns are fairly common. You, or someone in your family, might not be able to consume wheat or many other recommended foods. But remember, wheat is not the only recommended grain. You can have a successful longer-term storage without a drop of wheat. Store those grains that you and your family can eat.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recommends that you store "wheat, white rice, corn or other grains." Rolled oats are included on their list of products that can be stored for 30 years. If your family is allergic to wheat, but not gluten, oats are a good choice. Rice is a good grain for almost all food allergies. All of the different grains can be ground to make flour. Other grains may also be appropriate for longer-term storage, but avoid pearled barley and brown rice for longer-term storage (but they would be appropriate for your three-month supply) because they have very short shelf-lives. If you are considering storing a grain that is not already recommended for long-term storage, be sure to find out the recommended shelf life from reputable sources before you buy a lot of a product only to have it go bad quickly.

Here are some blogs about allergies and food storage:
Gluten-Free Food Storage
Gluten-Free Recipes & Food Storage (also a family blog)

Some great posts on this topic:
The Pantry Panel
Safely Gathered In


but i don't eat grains/wheat!

What if I don't eat wheat/grains?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states, "for longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans." So, the main purpose of this longer-term storage is to help us "stay alive."

A lot of people get hung up on the fact that they don't really use wheat or oats or whatever. If you don't already use these whole grains that store well, I recommend that you acquire the grains and then work on cooking with and incorporating these foods into your diet. And remember that "grains" doesn't necessarily mean wheat.

Ideally, you already utilize grains which are recommended for long-term storage in your diet and would already be able to use and rotate through your grains fairly quickly. If you do already use certain grains in your diet and cooking, choose those grains for your longer-term storage. But if you don't typically eat or cook with grain, at least you have the food stored to enable you to "stay alive".

Because whole grains are hard on digestive systems, it is also important to help your family tummies get used to those grains. I definitely DON'T recommend buying grains, storing them for 30 years and never using them. If you need to, set a goal and learn how to use these grains. Whole grains are not only good for your longer-term storage, but they are also good for your body.