A hand-powered wheat grinder or grain mill is an important tool for your survival kit, with the most obvious use being to grind wheat. There are, however, many other fun ways to utilize your wheat grinder whether you’re in survival mode or simply in your kitchen.
If you’re in an emergency situation and the power goes out, your electric grain mill will serve no purpose. It is important to be prepared and a hand-mill is a versatile, incredible tool to have in your kitchen or emergency food supply.
Sweet and Healthy Freeze-Dried Fruit
You probably already know how delicious and nutritious freeze-dried fruit is, whether baked into treats or munched on straight from the bag. Grinding your freeze-dried fruit into a powder adds versatility that you just don’t get with the whole pieces. Grind freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, and bananas and sprinkle the ground fruit onto yogurt and hot cereal. Use your naturally sweet powder in smoothies, homemade ice cream, and even daiquiris! Ground berries or citrus fruits can be used as sweeteners in homemade granola, baked goods, or juices as well.
Support a Gluten-Free Diet
In addition to grinding wheat, you can grind a plethora of other grains to make gluten-free flour. White and brown rice can be ground to make rice flour, a tasty alternative to wheat flour. Garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour is a great way to add protein to your baked goods, and can easily be ground into flour using a hand mill. Almonds can be ground to use in baking as well as to make almond butter, a tasty spread on bread, muffins, and biscuits. Always be sure to clean your mill thoroughly between grinding wheat products and gluten free products if someone in your home has a gluten allergy.
Get Your Chocolate Fix
Store-bought chocolate syrup and hot cocoa mix can be pricey and full of undesirable ingredients like preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup. Keep your wallet and your tummy satisfied by grinding your own chocolate powder to use in delicious hot or cold chocolaty drinks!
Cacao nibs (nubs, bits, pieces, chunks, etc.) are pieces of the cacao bean, which chocolate is made of, are rich in antioxidants and can be purchased at most health food stores and specialty food markets. Grind these bits in your hand mill to create a powder. You may need to grind and re-grind to create a fine enough powder that will dissolve in milk or hot water. Add sugar, cinnamon, or vanilla extract to your liking and enjoy!
An important note: Be sure to grind your cacao nibs slowly, as they respond quickly to heat. If your powder gets too warm it will liquefy and then solidify and resemble pieces of a chocolate bar. If you see this starting to happen, slow down, add the pieces back into the mix, and continue grinding.
Spice Up Your Life
Whether you have your own garden or buy spices and herbs from the supermarket, a hand-powered wheat grinder is a great asset for turning whole, dried herbs and spices into powder. Dried basil, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, mustard seed, red chili peppers, rock salt, and black peppercorns can be ground in a hand mill and used in your kitchen or out camping. Freshly ground herbs and spices are more flavorful and fresher than the store-bought powders, and by grinding them yourself you can eliminate waste and grind only what you’ll use.
Fresh Morning Brew
Sure, sometimes it’s easy to just run to your local coffee shop and grab a cup of joe on your way to work. But fresh-ground coffee is a delicious, economical substitute for the store-bought stuff, and will make your wallet very happy. Most coffee connoisseurs agree that you should grind your coffee beans as you use them, instead of a whole bag at a time, or even worse, buying pre-ground coffee. Hand-grind coffee beans with your wheat grinder, and start every day with an extraordinary cup of coffee!
In addition to the many types of wheat berries you can grind with your hand-mill, there are many interesting, fun uses beyond baking bread. Always use caution when grinding by hand, follow packaging instructions, and never force a grinder to grind when it is blocked or broken. Get creative and see what grains, fruits, and spices you can grind yourself and integrate into your emergency food storage supply, daily meal plans, lunch boxes, and camp foods.