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An integral part of your food storage arsenal should be the grain mill. These devices allow you to freshly grind up grains, legumes, spices and seeds right when you need them.  The shelf life of whole foods is longer than that of ground ones and helps keep the flavor intact, per the Whole Grains Council, so you can prepare what you need and preserve your food supply’s longevity overall.

However, there are several different options available.  Think about whether you wish to use it in your daily cooking or save it for emergencies and what types of foods you wish to grind up when purchasing a grain mill. Each will allow you to control whether you want the results to be fine or coarse, though less expensive types may not be able to produce the finest flours, as Jodi and Julie mention on Food Storage Made Easy.

Types of Power

There are three basic types of grain mills available for the home, according to Marleeta F. Basey of Mother Earth News:

  • Manual Grain Mills

This is one of the best types to buy if you would like to be able to grind grains in an emergency since it does not require electricity to run.  The least expensive mills available are this type, though you may find it well worth it to spend more for a quality product that will last longer and make grinding easier. You work the machine by turning a crank.  It may take several minutes to produce one cup of flour this way.

  • Electric Grain Mills 

One key practice in food storage is rotating your stock over time to keep it fresh. This can also allow you to experiment and get used to cooking with your supply.  An electric grain mill (as pictured above) will be able to grind up your grains much faster than a manual model and is suitable for daily use. However, they are usually larger and will require a generator or other emergency power supply if the electricity goes out.

If you own a KitchenAid mixer, there are grain mill attachments that may be a viable alternative to an electric machine since it will take up less room.

  • Convertible Grain Mills

If you want a machine that can offer the efficiency of electric mills but can still be used without power, choose a convertible grain mill. These have been manufactured so that you can switch between the two methods.

Milling Types

Along with deciding the power source, you also need to determine which kind of milling process will work best for your situation. If you want to grind oily foods like peanuts, Fante’s says you should opt for a machine with metal plates or spinning blades.  On the other hand, dry foods are best milled using stone plates, spinning blades, or metal or ceramic burrs.

eFoodsDirect offers both manual and convertible grain mills on their site. Both are crafted in Germany by Messerschmidt and use metal burrs to grind up your grains. They are able to process:

  • Barley
  • Beans (most kinds)
  • Coffee beans
  • Corn (it cannot be popcorn, though)
  • Dried herbs (most kinds)
  • Dried jalapenos and other hot peppers
  • Flax seeds
  • Kamut
  • Oats
  • Peas
  • Rice
  • Rye
  • Sesame seeds
  • Spelt
  • Wheat

How do you use your grain mill? Do you have a recipe to recommend?

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Storing Whole Grains, Whole Grains Council,
Marleeta F. Basey, Choosing the Right Countertop Grain Mill, Mother Earth News, December 2004/January 2005
Jodi & Julie, All About Wheat Grinders (Grain Mills) , March 15, 2009
Fante’s, Grain Mills,

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