Friday, May 27, 2011

Using an Antique Coffee Grinder to Grind Corn to Make Flour

Hubs just used my double wheel antique coffee grinder to grind corn into flour. Very cool! 
But I'm not using the flour until he totally disinfects the grinder... the coffee grinder was patented in 1898... 
This is  one of the ways we store food for Emergency Survival Planning. Ground corn or other flours have a shelf life of 2 or 3 years. Hard corn, not ground, has a shelf life of 20 to 30 years.
We never buy and store flour. Instead we buy hard corn and whole wheat and store that. With our antique coffee grinder we are set if we need to grind wheat or corn to make flour during an emergency situation.
Here is the corn that we buy.  It costs $12.00 Canadian for a 25kg bag. For those who are metric challenged, that is just over 55 lb. 
Hubs adjusted the settings on my antique coffee grinder to grind the hard corn into a nice fine flour. 
1 lb of hard corn grinds into 4 cups of flour.  That's a bit less than 1/2 kg of hard corn to make 1000 ml  (1 L) of ground flour.

Hubs is holding a handful of hard corn and in the measuring cup beside him you see the corn after it is ground. 
What can I do with this? Make tortillas or flatbread or bannock every day. I can make 12 tortillas every day for almost 5 months using 1 25kg bag of hard corn. 
I need to stock up on baking powder, salt, vegetable oil and water to make those tortillas. To make 12 tortillas every day for 5 months I also need wheat or all-purpose flour. 
We have a plan for purchasing wheat which we will grind to make our own flour. I don't know how many bags I need for those 5 months of tortillas since I haven't got any wheat yet. As soon as it arrives (it was a special order) I'll let readers know how much it is going to take.
Most tortilla recipes use shortening or lard. But  the shelf life of shortening  is not as good as vegetable oil. Shortening is only good for about 3 years maximum. So every 3 years I would need to replace my old shortening with fresh. That's why I came up with a tortilla recipe that uses liquid vegetable oil which I never have to replace.

Doing this and labeling these specific food items as earmarked for tortillas means that I have guaranteed my family 12 tortillas every day for 5 months. Of course this  supply would last 10 months if we cut back to 6 tortillas daily which is enough for hubs and I to have one tortilla with each daily meal.

All in all it's a very cost-effective and easy way to store some of the food needed for an emergency survival plan. Remember that tortillas are versatile - you can stuff them with almost anything! Rice, beans, sauteed vegetables, cheese, eggs - all it takes is a little imagination.

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