The Survival Guide To Long Term Food Storage: Part 7
Whether or not you are interested in harvesting bugs from your wet grain, or if you want to try to eliminate them, these are three main points:
1. Heat will make eggs hatch. The supermarket I regularly shopped at when I lived in the Caribbean had bugs running around like crazy in the spice and nut jars as well as in the pasta packages. You could just pick up a plastic bag of pasta and watch the bug races. The pancake mixes (which of course had the basic ingredient being wheat flour) were subject to exactly the same problem, except that they were packaged in kraft paper bags so that I wouldn't notice until I got the package home and opened the bag to find all sorts of tiny teeny cobwebs, or a very small kind of fly that could even chew its way clear out of the bag! Yikes!
2. It is well nigh impossible to effectively clean all eggs out of the grain products that are available in the supermarkets at the original source so you certainly have no chance of doing that yourself. There are simply too many nooks and crannies for the bugs to lay their eggs in, and there is no way that they can all be effectively removed. Quality control processes in food processing plants allow the product to "pass" if there is an allowable percentage of insect eggs, fragments, and other bits and pieces of the good Lord know what do not exceed the allowable amounts. Hard to believe but true.
3. Nitrogen flushing done in sequence followed by a complete vacuum pressure evacuation of the food storage jar or bag prior its sealing is just about the most effective process that anyone can complete in order to eliminate oxygen to the greatest extent possible. Assuming that you have comparable densities, there would be far less air in a bag with 10 pounds of wheat versus a bag with 10 pounds of golf balls, as the volume between the golf balls would simply not be possible to completely evacuate to satisfactory extents. In roughly equal quantities of grain versus beans, grain would be the better food product which would allow itself to evacuate more air.
Consider the brick packs of ground coffee that you may see on the grocery shelves: the ones that at their packing plant have so much atmosphere sucked out of the bag that they are as hard as a brick, and when you rip them open they "whoosh". Even with this high level of vacuum the process still will not eliminate all of the air out of the container. Take a brick box of coffee with you the next time you go from sea level to the mountains, you'll be amazed! You will find that the brick pack will soften a bit at high altitude and that is due to the lower air pressure up there.
The bottom line is that maximum oxygen evacuation, nitrogen flushing, and immediate sealing with a quality vapor barrier container preferably with multiple layers is the best way to ensure effective long term storage. Naturally, the place where you store these containers must be consistently cool and not subject to considerably warmer temperature fluctuations. It is feasible that the container will have such a tiny amount of oxygen that whatever little bug manages to hatch will suffocate shortly afterwards, but I certainly wouldn't want to take all of these careful and expensive precautions and then discover that this was not what was happening and the darned bugs started to multiply like crazy. Keep in mind that excessive moisture could still be a problem in the formation of mold regardless of the extensive precautions mentioned in this Hub so it pays to be vigilant!
More by this Author
The one and only real Braciola: a slice of prime, lean mega-pounded beef, filled with the most delectable mixture on Earth; rolled, browned and then simmered in sauce all day long! Yum!
Genovese pasta sauce has been Naples' best kept secret for over 400 years. This incredible onion-beef sauce simmers all day long until it's poured over steaming hot pasta and covered in Parmigiano Reggiano. Irresistible!
A quick guide to the galaxy of pasta shapes from Agnolotti (Baby Goats) to Ziti (Bridegrooms) and the more unusual ones like Strozzapreti (Stranglers Of The Priests)!