Alternatives to Wheat for Food Storage

In our series featuring Why People Do Food Storage we touched briefly on allergies as one of the “health benefits” of doing food storage. (Please note: Our final article in that series will be posted later this week!) We wanted to go into a little more detail about that since we get quite a few readers asking us what to do if they have wheat allergies since wheat is one of the items we are supposed to store the most of according to traditional food storage calculators. We have two basic recommendations or suggestions for you:

1. Store extra of the other grains

According to food storage calculators, one adult should store 300 lbs of grains for a one year supply of food. Of this 300, half of it is supposed to be wheat. If you have a wheat allergy, obviously this is not going to apply to you. You may choose to store a lot more alternative grains which include oats, gluten-free quinoa, millet, amaranth, rice, or cornmeal. You can start to collect food storage recipes that use these grains instead of focusing on the traditional items like breads, etc.

2. Learn how to make substitutions

A lot of recipes that call for wheat flour can be modified for wheat allergies. For example, cream of chicken soup or any white sauce base recipe can be made using bean flour. You can make gluten-free bread using other flours such as rice flour, millet flour, oat flour, etc. If you own a wheat grinder then these types of substitutions are SO easy to make and you can store the bulk grains in your food storage, just like you would store wheat! For a great summary of different types of gluten-free flours check out this post on the Gluten Free Mommy blog.

We need your help!

We would love to compile some even more in depth resources for people who suffer from Celiac Disease or others who need to follow a gluten-free diet. If you have good food storage recipes or other tips on how to do gluten-free food storage please email them to info@foodstoragemadeeasy.net. We will be incorporating all of your feedback into a helpful handout that will hopefully benefit a lot of people who are trying to live gluten-free AND work on food storage!

  • Regina

    In long term food storage, wheat accounts for most of the protein.  I would encourage people not eating wheat to store a lot more legumes than normally suggested because of their higher protein content (and fiber).  I store mostly pintos since they are the most digestible and have the most uses in my normal diet.  Quinoa is a famous high protein grain, so I store some in my freezer, but for long term–its pinto beans, black beans, garbanzos, and lentils at my house.  I’ve tried and tried bean flour, but it tastes odd, so I just eat beans as beans and use rice & millet for my breads.  Make sure the beans are very fresh before putting them in cans (if they’ve been sitting in a cannery for a month or so before going in cans, they aren’t your bests bet, buy them and can them right away or else go through a reputable food storage company) if I have super fresh beans I don’t get gas from eating them, if they are a little old, they start causing problems.

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi and Julie

      Great tips, thanks!

      • Cherlynn

         If you don’t like the taste of bean flour you are probably using to much.  I use bean flour and bean paste in all of my recipes but you have to learn how much is just right.  Blending it with other things will hide the taste of the bean flour or paste. 

  • Jolene

    I am gluten intolerant and sensitive to oats and corn.  The Xanthum gum in most all purpose gf flour mixes irritates my gut also.  I lean towards, rices, millet, amaranth, buckwheat etc.  Spending the extra money on smaller containers with a good shelf life makes sense as these grains go rancid quickly.  I have an old extra fridge to preserve all  of my  special ingredients. It is costly to store the types of food I eat for the whole family.  They don’t consider hardly any of it comfort food.  I eat it because my body won’t allow any me to break the gf rules.  I cook two separate meals most of the time.  I have gotten them use to alternative grain soaked pancakes, gf quick breads even 5 min artesian gf bread .  From now on I will just make theirs with regular wheat flour as I can’t do yeast any more either.  Over the years I have fed them more and more rice. I soak all of our grains and legumes before processing.  Sprouted grains flours are available but expensive.  I need to store some sealed then open at a later date to see if it will keep. Does any one know if sprouts and garden seeds will germinate properly if sealed?  When putting together your survival kit, spend the extra effort including food that will be nutritious that is on your safe menu, as the majority of survival food that loved ones or friends might share  is almost always off limits for those of us with restricted diets. 

    • Cherlynn

       I’m new to this area just found out I’m allergic to all gluten, all dairy and eggs–I thought my asthma was out of control but I was so allergic my throat was closing down.  Anyway I had trouble with the Xanthum gum too and switched to Guar Gum and it seems to work better for me.

  • J-wo

    I have purchased a long-term food storage package which includes no wheat. I have lots of white & wheat flour, and other grains, but I noticed on the long term food storage calculator, the wheat makes up a substantial amount of the standard. Is it sufficient to have the flours, or should I look into purchasing some wheat too?

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

      Flour has a much shorter shelf life than wheat. If you plan to rotate
      through your storage very quickly then flour is a suitable replacement
      for the wheat. However, wheat will last a MUCH longer time and also
      has more uses than just flour. You can make a lot of things out of it
      including sprouting it to add different nutrition and variety to your
      diet.

      • Cherlynn

         I am having to switch our food storage over to include grains that are GF and I am getting whole grains that I can grind fresh as I need them or the flour for the stuff I can’t grind fresh.  I’m vacuum sealing them all into quart jars and storing in my deep freeze.  I started canning all our meat 2 years ago so I have a freezer mostly full of water bottles so I can store in there.  If the electric ever goes out long term then these should last 2 years on the shelf as long as they are vacuum sealed. 

  • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

    You can use any beans!

  • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

    You can use any beans!

  • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

    Yes you can make it from any bean. The flavors will vary slightly but it will work. We tend to use whatever color of bean matches the food we are making.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mercedes-Riley/100000312934874 Mercedes Riley

    does the bean flour have to be made of white or navy beans? what i mean is can i make flour from black beans, etc…?

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

      Yes you can make it from any bean. The flavors will vary slightly but it will work. We tend to use whatever color of bean matches the food we are making.

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi – Food Storage Made Easy

      You can use any beans!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mercedes-Riley/100000312934874 Mercedes Riley

    does the bean flour have to be made of white or navy beans? what i mean is can i make flour from black beans, etc…?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Leslie Peterson Hobbs

    I grind my own rice flour, brown, white and sweet. I also have the tapioca perals ready to try. I also grind my own corn and beans.

  • http://www.facebook.com Leslie Peterson Hobbs

    I grind my own rice flour, brown, white and sweet. I also have the tapioca perals ready to try. I also grind my own corn and beans.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t need a GF diet but I just purchased nine 15 lb bags of Bastmati Rice at Sam’s Club. I put them in six gallon buckets with 1500 or 2000 cc of O2 absorpers and a gamma seal. The rice needs to be soaked first but it smells like corn and comes out long and seperate. It’s around .70/lb so more expensive than the other rice.

  • couponshopper

    I don't need a GF diet but I just purchased nine 15 lb bags of Bastmati Rice at Sam's Club. I put them in six gallon buckets with 1500 or 2000 cc of O2 absorpers and a gamma seal. The rice needs to be soaked first but it smells like corn and comes out long and seperate. It's around .70/lb so more expensive than the other rice.

  • http://suncooking.blogspot.com/ michelle

    You must be reading my mind. This year I found out that I’m Celiac and I’ve been working on gluten-free food storage solutions. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Darlene Burgess

    Zoo Nana, you do know that you can make your own flours. Store the whole grain and grind it yourself. I just got a Back-to-Basics hand grinder for $50 – and I can turn it easily. The flour isn't as fine as with my electric grinder, but in a pinch, it would work. The only thing that you may not be able to make flour with at home would be the almonds. It may have too much oil for home grinders. I think they express the oils out of the almonds before they grind it, dry it out and THEN grind it to a flour. Otherwise, you'd have almond butter. But the soy, brown and white rice, and bean flours can be ground at home – and a lot cheaper too! Then you'd have more money to stock up on the Xanthan gum. As a side note, I've been reading that a lot of people who have problems with wheat are really having problems with enriched wheat flour that is commercially prepared. It seems what they are really reacting to is a compound in the "enriching" process. Don't have any Celia people in the family, so I don't know if this would work for you guys. I'm just tossing it out there in case you can use the info.You can dehydrate a lot of different foods. Homemade Mac and Cheese, Hamburger, chicken, turkey, beef, chili, etc. All you do is use either the plastic liner you'd use to make fruit leathers or wrap the shelf screen with plastic wrap. Dry and you can then put the food into your 72 hr kits. I also make a thicker chili, so it's not a "soup" consistency, reduce it if you need to or add less water when you make it. It takes less time to dry and won't run off the tray on you. Portion an amount out on the dryer tray. Dry it and then remeasue what's left. Subtract out the difference and you know how much water you need to add back into it to rehydrate it.

    • Cherlynn

       My friend Vickilynn told me to run almonds through the blender with a little water and then put on parchment paper and dehydrate and use that to make flour with.  You can grind it by hand or break it up and run it though the grain mill.

    • openmind421

      You can grind sliced almonds in a high-quality coffee grinder (I use a Kitchen Aid – was about $35 I think). You get a fine almond meal….no almond butter :)

  • http://www.facebook.com Darlene Burgess

    Zoo Nana, you do know that you can make your own flours. Store the whole grain and grind it yourself. I just got a Back-to-Basics hand grinder for $50 – and I can turn it easily. The flour isn't as fine as with my electric grinder, but in a pinch, it would work. The only thing that you may not be able to make flour with at home would be the almonds. It may have too much oil for home grinders. I think they express the oils out of the almonds before they grind it, dry it out and THEN grind it to a flour. Otherwise, you'd have almond butter. But the soy, brown and white rice, and bean flours can be ground at home – and a lot cheaper too! Then you'd have more money to stock up on the Xanthan gum. As a side note, I've been reading that a lot of people who have problems with wheat are really having problems with enriched wheat flour that is commercially prepared. It seems what they are really reacting to is a compound in the "enriching" process. Don't have any Celia people in the family, so I don't know if this would work for you guys. I'm just tossing it out there in case you can use the info.You can dehydrate a lot of different foods. Homemade Mac and Cheese, Hamburger, chicken, turkey, beef, chili, etc. All you do is use either the plastic liner you'd use to make fruit leathers or wrap the shelf screen with plastic wrap. Dry and you can then put the food into your 72 hr kits. I also make a thicker chili, so it's not a "soup" consistency, reduce it if you need to or add less water when you make it. It takes less time to dry and won't run off the tray on you. Portion an amount out on the dryer tray. Dry it and then remeasue what's left. Subtract out the difference and you know how much water you need to add back into it to rehydrate it.

  • http://suncooking.blogspot.com/ michelle

    You must be reading my mind. This year I found out that I'm Celiac and I've been working on gluten-free food storage solutions. I'll let you know what I come up with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Linda Harriman Tremmel Sorden

    i want to hear more about just add mixes

  • http://www.facebook.com Linda Harriman Tremmel Sorden

    i want to hear more about just add mixes

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Zoo Nana

    Thank you Freida. I do a lot of canning. Fortunately canned fruit and veggies and usually plain canned meats are fine to buy. If I want mixed items like stew, chili and sauces I usually make and can them myself. Lately I've been focusing more on making just-add-water mixes since they are lighter and easier to carry. They take a LOT less time and money to prepare and store too.

    • Cherlynn

       Be careful buying anything canned in the store!  I found stuff added to tuna that I can’t have and several canned items are starting to use modified food starch that has Gluten.

  • http://www.facebook.com Zoo Nana

    Thank you Freida. I do a lot of canning. Fortunately canned fruit and veggies and usually plain canned meats are fine to buy. If I want mixed items like stew, chili and sauces I usually make and can them myself. Lately I've been focusing more on making just-add-water mixes since they are lighter and easier to carry. They take a LOT less time and money to prepare and store too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Frieda Franchina

    Zoo Nana~ what a wealth of info! You may want to consider canning/bottling your own fruits, soups, meats and veggies. Investing in a steam canner and pressure canner are worth it since YOU know what goes into the product.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Frieda Shell Franchina

    Zoo Nana~ what a wealth of info! You may want to consider canning/bottling your own fruits, soups, meats and veggies. Investing in a steam canner and pressure canner are worth it since YOU know what goes into the product.

  • http://www.facebook.com Frieda Franchina

    Zoo Nana~ what a wealth of info! You may want to consider canning/bottling your own fruits, soups, meats and veggies. Investing in a steam canner and pressure canner are worth it since YOU know what goes into the product.

  • http://www.facebook.com Frieda Shell Franchina

    Zoo Nana~ what a wealth of info! You may want to consider canning/bottling your own fruits, soups, meats and veggies. Investing in a steam canner and pressure canner are worth it since YOU know what goes into the product.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Zoo Nana

    Ahhh this is a big deal here in my house since we have several Celiacs in our family. It's been difficult and expensive to store large quantities of gluten free items. You’d be surprised how many ordinary, everyday foods are not gluten free. Most items we need don't come in bulk sizes. (with our large family I need bulk sizes for everyday use too) For example I can't get gluten free soy sauce in large sizes, gluten free pasta comes in only in sizes of 1 lb or less and a 5 lb bag of all purpose gluten free flour is about $15. I’m very limited in my choices for canned soups and canned meals and there are almost no gluten free prepared long term storage meals. There are gluten free MRE type meals, but they cost 4x more than regular MRE’s. I’ve had to come up with my own prepared storage meals. Every item I add to our storage has to be checked to insure it is gluten free, even items I’ve found that were gluten free when I purchased them before. Companies change their ingredients and I have to watch for those changes. Nothing worse than picking up a dozen cans of something we’ve used many times before, just to find out we can’t use it anymore. Gluten is also hidden in the ingredient labels. Ingredients listed like modified food starch or caramel coloring can mean just about anything, and without calling the company to confirm, we’d never know if it’s gluten free.I’ve stored a huge assortment of flours like soy flour, white and brown rice flour, bean flour, and almond flour. Until we went gluten free, I didn’t know so many flours were available! We also have assorted starches like potato, corn and tapioca. Baking gluten free bread can be a headache without the right recipes and lots of practice, almost all call for several types of flour for one recipe. Xanthan gum is an important ingredient in most gluten free bread recipes too. Fortunately being gluten free is much easier now than it was 20 years ago when my son was diagnosed Celiac. There was almost nothing available for him back then and I had to come up with all my own recipes for things. It’s so nice now to be able to have a gluten free birthday cake for my 9 yr old Celiac daughter. (even Betty Crocker has gluten free baking mixes now!) We’re able to enjoy gluten free pizza, bagels, cookies, muffins and waffles too. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’ve been doing this a long time.

    • Cherlynn

       I’m not just gluten free, I’m also allergic to all dairy and eggs.  My doctor has to spend a lot of time doing research before she can even prescribe medications because even those have stuff I can’t have.  I daily feel like I’m playing Russian Roulette, will I survive another day or screw up and eat or take the wrong thing.  My throat swells shut so very fast, I really do wonder daily if I’ll make it or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com Zoo Nana

    Ahhh this is a big deal here in my house since we have several Celiacs in our family. It's been difficult and expensive to store large quantities of gluten free items. You’d be surprised how many ordinary, everyday foods are not gluten free. Most items we need don't come in bulk sizes. (with our large family I need bulk sizes for everyday use too) For example I can't get gluten free soy sauce in large sizes, gluten free pasta comes in only in sizes of 1 lb or less and a 5 lb bag of all purpose gluten free flour is about $15. I’m very limited in my choices for canned soups and canned meals and there are almost no gluten free prepared long term storage meals. There are gluten free MRE type meals, but they cost 4x more than regular MRE’s. I’ve had to come up with my own prepared storage meals. Every item I add to our storage has to be checked to insure it is gluten free, even items I’ve found that were gluten free when I purchased them before. Companies change their ingredients and I have to watch for those changes. Nothing worse than picking up a dozen cans of something we’ve used many times before, just to find out we can’t use it anymore. Gluten is also hidden in the ingredient labels. Ingredients listed like modified food starch or caramel coloring can mean just about anything, and without calling the company to confirm, we’d never know if it’s gluten free.I’ve stored a huge assortment of flours like soy flour, white and brown rice flour, bean flour, and almond flour. Until we went gluten free, I didn’t know so many flours were available! We also have assorted starches like potato, corn and tapioca. Baking gluten free bread can be a headache without the right recipes and lots of practice, almost all call for several types of flour for one recipe. Xanthan gum is an important ingredient in most gluten free bread recipes too. Fortunately being gluten free is much easier now than it was 20 years ago when my son was diagnosed Celiac. There was almost nothing available for him back then and I had to come up with all my own recipes for things. It’s so nice now to be able to have a gluten free birthday cake for my 9 yr old Celiac daughter. (even Betty Crocker has gluten free baking mixes now!) We’re able to enjoy gluten free pizza, bagels, cookies, muffins and waffles too. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’ve been doing this a long time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Pitmaster Konrad Haskins
    • Cherlynn

       some can get away with sprouting the grain then making bread out of it but many can not.  I’m still so shocked at how fast I went from using everything to totally can’t handle it at all. 

  • http://www.facebook.com Pitmaster Konrad Haskins
  • http://www.facebook.com/ Jill DeMille Albin

    Spelt isn't gluten free.

  • http://www.facebook.com Jill DeMille Albin

    Spelt isn't gluten free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Heather Newman Haslam

    I am pretty certain I could live off of popcorn so I plan on storing a good amount of that, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com Heather Newman Haslam

    I am pretty certain I could live off of popcorn so I plan on storing a good amount of that, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Pitmaster Konrad Haskins

    Don't forget Spelt. Ground for bread and rolled for hot oatmeal like cereal.

  • http://www.facebook.com Pitmaster Konrad Haskins

    Don't forget Spelt. Ground for bread and rolled for hot oatmeal like cereal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Valerie Ptaszek Norfolk

    I'm a celiac, and have lots of grains in storage. Oats (gluten free natch), loads of rice, cornmeal, quinoa, masa flour (for tortillas), risotto rice, and mixes, Pamela's bread mix, Pamela's pancake mix, gluten free crackers, rice cakes, and sushi rice. Yes, I have at least 3 types of rice in storage.

  • http://www.facebook.com Valerie Ptaszek Norfolk

    I'm a celiac, and have lots of grains in storage. Oats (gluten free natch), loads of rice, cornmeal, quinoa, masa flour (for tortillas), risotto rice, and mixes, Pamela's bread mix, Pamela's pancake mix, gluten free crackers, rice cakes, and sushi rice. Yes, I have at least 3 types of rice in storage.