Most homes will already have most of what you will need to process and cook the foods from your survival pantry, items such as pots, pans, and other common household kitchen utensils. So we will not get into that. What we will cover are tools that most typical kitchens do not have on hand but that are necessary for the prepper’s kitchen. So let us get started.
Choosing a Grain Mill
You need a grain mill now. Don’t put it off another day. Even one of the least expensive models would be better than not having one at all. I know many of you want the best, and that is great. Get the best if you can afford it. Just do not put it off any longer. Get a mill now. If you cannot afford one of the better models, get a cheaper one; buy two or three of the cheaper models – that way if one breaks and cannot be repaired, you will still have spares to fall back on.
This goes along with my philosophy of the rule of three. Always have at least three independent sources of any survival necessity. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Too many things can happen which will leave you with nothing, which is what we are trying to avoid by prepping in the first place.
While I cannot give recommendations on all the models currently available today (because I have not owned or used them all), I can tell you what I have and my thoughts on these which should, at least, get you started in the right direction.
I currently own four different grain mills, The Wonder Junior Deluxe Grain Mill, a Corona Landers, (check the current price on the Corona mill at Amazon.com) a Back to Basics, and a Grizzly H7775.
Wonder Junior Deluxe Grain Mill (Top Pick for the Best Grain Mill)
If you read my book “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat”, then you already know that I use the Corona hand grain mill for all of my day-to-day milling. It is a strong and well-built grain mill, and for less than $75 it is hard to beat. The Mill to Table Clamping System is a very strong feature included with the Wonder Mill.
However, I have never liked having to run the meal through the Corona several times to produce usable fine-enough flour for baking. That is one reason I made my homemade sifter – to speed up the process. However, it was still always necessary to run the bulk of the flour through the mill two or more times.
Since I mill grain several times per week, I needed a more efficient mill. I considered the Country Living Grain Mill but never could find enough extra change for the purchase. Therefore, I started looking for an alternative. I eventually decided to order the Wonder Mill Deluxe – check the current price and availability at Amazon…
I have used the Wonder Mill for the past three weeks, and so far I have been extremely pleased with my new mill. In fact, I think I’ll retire the Corona and use the Wonder Mill Deluxe exclusively. Yeah, it is that good.
The Wonder Mill comes with both stone and steel grinding heads as shown in the photo above.
I love the one-piece construction of the mill and hopper. There is no separate hopper that can fall off during operation or any pins or clamps that could be lost. This is one thing I never liked about the Corona, as there were several times that the hopper fell off during aggressive cranking of the handle.
Another big improvement over most hand-operated grain mills is the double clamping system used on the Wonder Mill, which is the strongest I have ever seen on any mill. When properly clamped to the table, I had no problems with the mill moving out-of-place or coming off during grinding.
However, since all of my grinding is done in the same place, I will likely remove the clamp altogether and bolt the Wonder Mill directly to the table. This will provide the strongest possible mill to table mounting system.
Another thing I loved about the Wonder Mill is the quick change head system that allows you to easily switch from grinding dry grains, beans, and legumes to oily grains, nuts, and even coffee in just a couple of minutes. The Wonder Mill Deluxe comes with both steel and stone grinding heads, which can be changed out in less than one minute.
Here are the product specifications:
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Height: 12 ¾ inches (without the clamp)
- Hopper capacity: one quart
- Crank handle: 10 inches
Best of all, the Wonder Mill produces excellent, fine flour (with no sifting or re-grinding required). This saves a lot of time and effort. Moreover, the consistency is easily adjusted using a simple knob to adjust from pastry flour to cracked grains.
In fact, 90% of flour files through the sifter screen after the first pass through the mill. Again, this is a huge improvement over the Corona. In addition, because of the excellent bearing system (that never needs lubricating) cranking the handle is much smoother, but still requires effort.
The flour guide directs the falling flour into the catch pan or onto the screen without any mess around the milling heads or thrown flour on the table and floor. This is always been a problem with the Corona when grinding pieces of grain and flour would be thrown all over the place. One solution was to secure a plastic bag over the grinding head of the Corona to catch the flour and grain particles.
I wish that I had a Country Living Mill to compare against the Wonder Mill. I am sure there would have been some interesting findings with the comparison. The folks at WonderMill.com did perform a speed comparison between the two and according to their website: In a test performed at the Wonder Mill test kitchen, the Wonder Junior was able to grind 1 ¼ cups of flour in a single minute *80 turns*. This is 65% (about 1/2 cup) more than we were able to produce with the Country Living grain mill with the same flour setting and the same amount of turns *80 turns*, and for half the price.
I know what you are thinking, it sounds great but “can it be motorized?” Yes, it can. There is a motoring pulley available that will allow you to do just that; however doing so will void the warranty. They also make a special adapter which can be used with a power drill to make grinding any grains or beans a quick and easy process.
I only grind a small amount of flour at a time (why grind more than I need?). I will not be adding a motor, but it is an option to keep in mind.
Your next question is probably going to be “what will it grind?” I have used it to grind wheat, corn, and beans. It can also grind spices, herbs, oily grains, nuts, and seeds. See WillItGrind.com for more info on what the Wonder Mill will grind.
Based on my tests, comparisons, price, and use, I give the Wonder Junior Hand Grain Mill my highest recommendation for a grain mill. If you are looking for a hand grain mill this is the one you should get.
Corona Landers Mill
It is strong, robust, well made and my second favorite grain mill. The Corona is a hand-cranked unit that uses rotating steel burrs to crack and grind corn, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.
It is manufactured using cast-iron parts with an electro-tinned finish to guarantee a rustproof and easy to clean tool. I give it my second highest recommendation following the wonder junior hand grain mill.
Back To Basics Mill
This mill works well and is actually very easy to use. My main complaint is the small hopper that needs to be refilled after a few cranks of the handle. It is lightweight when compared to the Corona and I do not think it would stand up as well to continued usage.
Grizzly H7775 Mill
The Grizzly H7775 mill it is not my first choice but it sure beats having nothing at all. It sits low on the table, low enough that getting a large enough bowl under the head to catch the flour is difficult. I have the same problem when using the Corona. This is the main reason I use a homemade sifter to catch the grindings.
My other complaint is the small hopper, refilling it every few cranks can be an annoyance, at least for me. On the plus side, the grinder is efficient and the grinding plates are easily adjusted to the desired consistency.
While this is a good mill, it is not of the quality of the Corona; but note that it is half the price, so buying two or more is an option.
Country Living Mill
While I do not own this mill, it is given the highest recommendations by those that do. A recent advertisement proclaims: The Country Living Grain Mill is one of the highest quality grain mills ever made. Living Grain Mill is one of those high-quality items that could be passed on to the next generation.
How to Grind Grains and Beans
When grinding, it is often necessary to regrind the grain several times before reaching the desired consistency. Some of the meal will come out perfectly fine the first time through, while other parts remain coarse and need to be reground several times.
One way to make grinding easier is to use a screen to sift out the finer flour while leaving the larger pieces of grain behind. The sifter is simply a four-sided box with sides but no top, and a bottom made of nylon window screen from the hardware store. Mine is 15″ X 12″ with sides made of a ¾ inch by 3-1/2 wood.
Cut the wood to length, and nail or screw the pieces together. Lay the screen out on a hard surface, sit the box down flat on top of the screen, and cut to fit with a utility knife. Turn the box over and tack the screen to the box with several thumbtacks or small nails to hold the screen in place.
Take all-purpose cement from the plumbing department of the hardware store, and spread generously around the rim of the over the edge of the screen, forming a permanent seal between the wood and the screen.
When grinding, place a section of newspaper under the grinder head and set the box on top. Grind as normal but after each pass through the grinder, shake the finer meal onto the newspaper and transfer into a bowl.
Pour the coarser meal back into the grinder and regrind, repeating until reaching the desired constancy. This saves running the finer meal back through the mill, making grinding easier and quicker.
If you’re looking for an off-the-grid cooking solution that never runs out of cooking fuel then watch the video below…
How to Clean Field Run Wheat
First off, never buy “seed” grain for human consumption. Seed grain is often treated with insecticides and fungicides. Seed grain is to be planted and grown not eaten. Buy untreated whole grain sold as “feed” that is meant to be eaten.
Look for “field run grain.” It is cheaper and because of fewer processing steps, it is less likely to be infected with mold or contaminated. Field run wheat will have dirt and detritus that will need to be removed before use, but cleaning wheat is not a big deal.
First, sort the grain by laying it out on a clean surface and pick out any chunks of dirt, rocks or darker grain. After sorting, you need to wash the grain. Place the grain on a sifter or screen and pour clean water over it until the water coming out the bottom is as clean as that poured in from the top.
After cleaning the grain, you will need to dry it before grinding. Pour the grain into a strainer and set it aside for about ten minutes. After it stops dripping, spread it out on a cookie sheet about ¼ inch deep, heat in oven at 180° degrees occasionally stirring until dry. Drying usually takes about an hour. If it takes longer that’s fine; just make sure it does not burn.
Alternatively, if you prefer you can dry it outside under the sun. This is better and cheaper but is dependent on the weather and time of day and the season. Just spread the grain out in a thin layer on newspaper or other suitable material in direct sunlight. A solar oven could also be used; however, I have never tried this method myself.
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