First of all I would like to thank JW Rawles, of SurvivalBlog fame, for allowing me to publish this article. When I wrote to him explaining that I was setting up a site with a bias to UK prepping he gave me permission to republish 10 of his posts to get me started. A true gentleman sharing in the spirit of helping others. The problem I then had was which 10 out of the thousands he has do I publish? I chose posts that were generic enough to be applicable to the UK and covered the areas I wanted to touch on. There were many more I could have used. Donâ€™t forget to visit his site SurvivalBlog for the rest of his posts.
This post, the final one of the 10 chosen, is on Wheat Germ: Forgotten Super Food for GOOD and Long-Term Storage, by Kitchen Maven. Thank you KM as well for sharing your knowledge with the world. This post was chosen because it introduces us, again in the UK anyway, to a new food category.
Wheat Germ: Forgotten Super Food for GOOD and Long-Term Storage, by Kitchen Maven
Wheat germ is an excellent G.O.O.D. food, as well as superb for long-term prepper storage. It’s feather light, loaded with protein and healthy fats, high calorie, nutrient dense, contains a wide variety of vitamins and trace minerals, and is very filling. Wheat germ is genuinely the most nutritious cereal in the world. And per meal, it’s fairly cheap.
Throw a cup of it into a Zip-Loc bag perhaps with some nuts and dried fruit. When you want to eat, add a cup of milk (or water if necessary), let it sit a minute or two, and you have a substantial meal that can even be spooned right out of the Zip-Loc bag;
One cup of wheat germ weighs four ounces, and has as much protein as a six-ounce sirloin steak. Twelve ounces of wheat germ contains 105 grams of high quality protein; enough daily protein for a large adult male doing hard labor. And unlike MREs, it will keep you regular.
What is a good portion size? That depends on your size, appetite, and activity level. For a small, sedentary female, half a cup would be more than plenty. Big, active guys will eat twice that. Wheat germ is to regular cereal as cheesecake is to regular cake – a lot richer and more filling. A solid meal, not a snack.
Before the 1970s, health food was about maximizing health, rather than avoiding diseases. One of the most popular foods from this period was wheat germ. Unfortunately, the health food field is incredibly faddish. Wheat germ got shoved aside by newer discoveries, and was gradually forgotten.
Wheat germ is the secret ingredient that gives whole wheat flour its superiority over white flour. You can think of wheat germ as a form of whole wheat that has had all the empty white flour taken out – because that’s what it is. It contains some bran, which adds fiber, but no white flour at all. (As a result, wheat germ contains only about 40 percent carbs, of which 25 percent is fiber – very low carbs for a grain product.)
Not only that, but it comes in vacuum packed, glass jars with metal tops – perfect for prepper storage. Unopened jars will last for years if kept in a cool, dark place. In the freezer, it seems to last indefinitely. I had some for about four years in the back of my freezer, and when opened, it smelled as fresh and sweet as ever. (Bad wheat germ can be identified instantly, because it smells unpleasantly rancid. Trust your nose, never mind the expiration date.)
Once the jar is opened, wheat germ will keep un-refrigerated for weeks, depending on temperatures (always sniff test), and for months if kept chilly.
Extremely fresh wheat germ smells slightly sweet, acceptable wheat germ has almost no smell, and bad wheat germ smells rancid because the high quality oils will eventually oxidize. Since wheat germ is a major source of Vitamin E, which is a natural preservative, it lasts longer than you would expect.
Many people who think they dislike wheat germ actually dislike rancid wheat germ. Keep it in the refrigerator, once opened. There’s a reason it’s sealed in expensive vacuum packed glass jars instead of cardboard boxes. For preppers, the added protection against bugs, mice and moisture is a bonus.
Wheat germ is cheap. People look at the price and say, “That many dollars for one lousy jar of cereal?!” But a 20-ounce jar contains ten small meals, or five big ones. Depending on the size of the portions you generally eat, divide the total price by five, or by ten, to get the per meal price. At current prices, that ranges from less than 70 cents to $1.40 for a meal. As I said, wheat germ is cheap.
And you can get it at Wal-Mart (top shelf, baking aisle, not cereal aisle). Most supermarkets carry it on an eye-level shelf at the end of the cereal section.
Wheat germ is incredibly moisture absorbent. You must add a volume of liquid equal to the volume of wheat germ, not less than that. One cup of wheat germ requires one cup of milk. At first you will see tiny flakes floating in the milk, and grumble, thinking you’ve added way too much. But wait. Within a minute or two, the liquid will be completely absorbed, and the wheat germ will be soft, like hot cereal.
You can gobble it down without waiting if you like – if you enjoy chewing sawdust. Most people do this only once.
In an emergency, you can eat wheat germ dry, eating a small pinch at a time. Wait, and let it moisten in your mouth before swallowing. It tastes fine; you just have to eat it slowly.
For G.O.O.D. bags, keeping two- to four-ounce single size servings Zip-Loc bags in the freezer/fridge, and putting these inside a larger Zip-Loc bag, you with multiple meals within a five-second grab time.
For added longevity once on the road, if you expect to keep them more than a couple-three weeks in hot weather, you may want to pre-package them in small Mylar Zip-Loc bag with oxygen absorber packets (Walton Feed carries them). You can put powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar, nuts, dried fruit, sunflower, flax or chia seed, or whatever pleases you in the Zip-Loc bag with the wheat germ.
To transport the glass jars, consider rolling them in a double layer of bubble wrap, and taping it snugly to avoid breakage..
Wheat germ tastes like wheat – because it is wheat. Like pasta, you could eat it plain, but probably wouldn’t want to. It tastes okay, but boring. You can add practically anything to it, and you can add it to practically anything. As with most wheat products, it glories in humbly being a base for other things.
Most people sprinkle a tablespoon or two into everything from soup to cereals to spaghetti sauce, mix it into meatballs, or add it to baked goods. You can replace one-third of the flour with wheat germ. It’s a great nutrition booster. However, it’s also a food in its own right.
My mama was smart and sneaky. She never bought sugared cereals. But she had a special treat for us…if we were good children, when we came home from school, we could have wheat germ as a cereal, mixed with milk and lots of chocolate syrup…oh my. Down it went.
Consequently, I grew up thinking of wheat germ as a regular cereal, not as something to sprinkle. To this day I eat it that way, usually with nuts and blueberries. It is nutritionally the best of all cereals, and can be eaten hot or cold.
So what do you put in your wheat germ? Whatever you love best. What do you put into the wheat germ of a spouse/offspring you are introducing it to? Whatever they love best. My mama’s idea was really good.
The following information was provided to me by The Quaker Oats Company. I highlighted some information. Folic acid is essential for pregnant women to prevent birth defects; four ounces of wheat germ meets the new FDA requirement.
Information is for four ounces (133.4 grams):
|Total Fat, g||10.84|
|Saturated Fat, g||1.88|
|Polyunsaturated fat, g.||6.78|
|Monounsaturated fat, g.||1.42|
|Total carbohydrates, gm.||56.0|
|Dietary fiber, g.||13.48|
|Soluble fiber, g.||1.21|
|Vitamin A, IU||144.02|
|Vitamin C, mg.||6.8|
|Vitamin E, IU||42.96|
|Vitamin B6, mg.||0.68|
|Folic acid, mcg.||443.37|
|Vitamin B12, mcg||0.24|
|Pantothenic acid, mg.||1.59|