Anyone who knows a bit about Mormon culture (and I mean the real-deal Mormon culture, not the rumors... although they are probably true too) knows that Mormons love food storage. It's about providing for your family, preparing for unforseeable future need, and being self-sufficient! We love gardens, we love canning things, and we love wheat!
Well, I'll be the first to admit that Marcos and I have a long ways to go when it comes to building our supply of non-perishable foods: if we faced unexpected unemployment or a natural disaster, I'm honestly not sure how long we could live off of the few large cans we have in our closet. But I'm starting to warm up to the idea of growing our supply.
One of the food items that is commonly found in food storage cans is wheat berries; they are cheap and they last forever, but the number of people who know what to do with the uber-hard grain are relatively few. Luckily, one of those people is my friend Jen. When I told her that I was thinking about exploring some of her wheat recipes, she suggested starting with a few pounds of hard red winter wheat berries that I could purchase cheaply in the bulk section of Whole Foods market. So last night, that's what I did.
After bringing the berries to a boil and then simmering them on the stove top with a bit of salt and plenty of water for an hour or so until they were soft and a bit chewy, I followed a simple recipe for this Fiesta Wheat and Bean Salad, and it was so delicious. On Friday we are eating at a friend's house, and it's our turn to prepare the main dish. What did I decide to try? The Hippie Tacos recipe from the same food storage website, which uses wheat along with ground meat.
And one of the best things about using wheat berries is the price! At $1.19 a pound at Whole Foods, and even cheaper if you buy it mega-bulk size from a cannery, our contribution of wheat berries to the Fiesta salad cost us less than two dollars, and it fed us well for two main meals. For those hoping to stretch their dollar, it is even possible to use the grain in place of *gasp* ground meat.
Don't tell my husband...