If you are curious as to how long you can store your wheat berries, there are several answers to this, depending on how you decide to store them.
For many of us, having a stockpile of healthy and tasty foods has become more of a necessity. Whether it’s because of pandemics, natural disasters, or just wanting to learn to be more self-sustainable, having foods like wheat berries on hand is becoming increasingly important. But knowing how long wheat berries can last and the best methods to store them is just as important if you want to get the most out of this nutrition-packed food source.
Wheat berries can have a shelf life of up to six months if kept in their original packaging but can last longer if they are stored in a freezer, they are stored in an air-tight container, or they are stored in a Mylar bag.
Finding ways to live better and healthier while being less dependent on processed foods is a goal that many of us have begun to set for ourselves. Wheat berries are one of nature’s purest forms of nutrients, but without proper storage, they won’t last as long as you might think. Luckily, there are plenty of options available that will extend their lives well past the expiration date on their original packaging.
I have become increasingly interested in finding ways to store foods so that I can make fewer trips to the grocery store and learn more about feeding myself and my family through more self-sustainable means. It has been fun and satisfying to learn the many options for better food storage, and I’m more than willing to share my findings with others who want to become more food independent like me.
What is the Shelf Life of Wheat Berries (And How Can I Make Them Last Longer?)
Anyone who has spent any time in the kitchen probably is familiar with wheat. But not everyone is as familiar with wheat berries.
In its simplest form, wheat berries are what wheat is before it’s processed and sold to us in other forms, most commonly in the form of wheat flour.
Wheat berries are the kernel of the wheat stock, with only the husk removed.
The husk part of the kernel of wheat is not really edible. But the rest of the kernel is, and that is what is referred to as the wheat berry.
Wheat berries have a chewy texture and taste a bit nutty, similar to eating a raw peanut or almond. Though they are much smaller than nuts, they can be used in similar ways, whether you eat them raw in salads, soups, pasta dishes, or even on top of yogurt or a favorite breakfast cereal. Most people will prefer to cook wheat berries before they eat them, as they can be too hard to eat while raw.
Wheat berries are incredibly high in fiber, a nutrient that is missing from many of our diets. They are also rich in iron, which is necessary for increasing oxygen in our blood and for red blood cell health.
And when it comes to a pantry stocked with foods that have long shelf lives and provide an abundance of nutrition, wheat berries should be included in that list.
If you choose to purchase your wheat berries and store them in their original packaging, make sure you close the package and seal it tightly after use.
Wheat berries can be bought in small quantities but are also available in large bulk containers.
As I mentioned before, most of these types of containers will keep your wheat berries fresh and nutritionally viable for up to six months in normal conditions, where the temperatures of your storage area will remain under 75 degrees most of the time.
But, if you plan to store your wheat berries for more than six months or decide to buy such a large quantity that you want to extend the shelf life well past that mark, there are several other options available to you that will keep your wheat berries fresh and allow them to last much longer than those first six months.
1. Store Your Wheat Berries in a Freezer
One of the best ways to store your wheat berries, if you plan on extending their shelf life past six months, is to take them off the shelf altogether and place them in a freezer.
A downside to storing grains like wheat berries in your pantry or other storage facility is that they are more susceptible to bugs and rodents than other nonperishables, such as canned goods.
Placing the wheat berries in a deep freezer can keep them nutritionally stable and fresh for up to a year, even longer if you place the wheat berries in an area of the freezer where they won’t be exposed to frequent temperature changes.
Repackaging the wheat berries into smaller, freezable bags will allow you to be able to only remove the number of wheat berries you need at any given time, leaving the rest sealed and protected within the freezer.
2. Store Your Wheat Berries in Air-Tight Containers
If you prefer to keep your wheat berries in the pantry or in a storage facility that doesn’t include a freezer, another great way to store this grain for long-term sustainability is to invest in air-tight containers that will extend their shelf life way past the recommended six months.
Air-tight containers, when sealed properly, can extend the life of your wheat berries up to 20 years or more.
You have a ton of excellent options when it comes to air-tight storage containers these days. Some will come sold in a set, so you can use them for other storage needs, or you can usually buy them as single units and choose what size will best work for you and the space you have.
Make sure you look for containers that seal well, fit easily into your allocated space, and are durable.
Most storage containers made from BPA-free plastics are going to work best for storing foods like wheat berries.
You may also want to find containers that have easy-pour lids, if you prefer to not have to open the entire container every time, thus keeping air and humidity away from the remaining wheat berries and prolonging their shelf life.
3. Store Your Wheat Berries in a Mylar Bag
Finally, another storage option for long-term shelf life is to store your wheat berries in Mylar bags.
Mylar bags are one of the most-used forms of extended storage for food. When packaged and sealed correctly, Mylar bags can keep your wheat berries edible for decades past the day you purchase them.
When purchasing Mylar bags, look for sets that come in a variety of different sizes, so you can package your wheat berries into smaller amounts, thus eliminating the concern that you may shorten their shelf life when the package is open.
Most Mylar bags are also reusable, so they are an economic and environment-friendly way of storing multiple types of food.
Make sure you buy bags that have a zipper closure, which prevents spills from happening or pests from getting in. It’s also an easy way to always know you’ve fully resealed the bag, and the contents will be just as fresh when you go to open it the next time.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker