Monday, February 1, 2010

41 Year Old Wheat...Can You Cook It or Eat It?

In 1969 Viola Rogers in Cottonwood Arizona would never have imagined that the wheat she purchased for my Father in Law, Mr. Putt Putt, would still be around in 2010. It's like a space Odyssey coming back and opening a time capsule. So, here's the deal. We have 3 35 lb canisters of this wheat. It's been in our food storage room for so long we forgot it was there. One can was in a box, the other two, just exposed to outside air.
We got brave and decided to open one. Heck, just for kicks. Worst case, it's a molded black death cloud and evil. Even worse...a mutated two headed purple worm the size of a baseball bat erupts out of the lid and eats my husband...or is that best case? Ha ha. Depends on the day of the week. If there is this said "worm" can I save it for later, in case I need it's services? Just kidding Ace. Smoooches babe. You know I worship the quicksand you walk on.
So what is best case?
Best case, it's perfectly preserved and the packaging company gets gold stars galore. Right? Look at the outside of the can. Do you seriously think I was even remotely going to find anything edible in that can? It looks like it survived a nuclear blast. Scary.

Ace pry ed the top open. "1969" was scratched in the top of the can, but I outlined it with marker so the folks at home could see it.
Inside the lid looked like this. Bright and shiny...enough to see my polka-dot jammies. Yikes.

First visual inspection. LOOK! It's clean, mold free, dust free, smell like...wheat!
No worm. Sorry.
So here's how it was packaged...fumigated with Ethylene Dichloride. The studies I read said it wasn't toxic after exposure to air for several hours. Just to be sure, we kept our heads back.
This wheat was packaged by the Perma Pak food company. Yes, just like the wheat, they are still around too.
Thank you Perma-Pak!

My son got really excited about sprouting it and grinding some for bread. The dough is fermenting we'll keep everyone posted. In the meantime...just know I am still totally insane.

Wheat is soaking...

Here we go. Since I doubt "There you go" is appropriate given the fact that 41 year old wheat may not be something anyone else has in abundance.


Meadowlark said...

Hard red winter! HURRAY!!!!

I DEMAND that you make wheat gum. Put some in and start chewing. Do not swallow. Continue to chew. Do not swallow. Chew some more. At some point, the gluten "kicks in" and VOILA! Wheat gum.

I miss the ranch. :(

Mardi said...

I DO!!! I have about 10 - 5 gallon buckets of wheat that was given to my parents before I was born and then they pasted it down to myself and my other siblings. Needless to say, the wheat is over 37 years old. I have yet to open it. I have waiting until this summer. I just got a good wheat grinder for Christmas so I will be testing it out when the weather warms up. I hope my wheat looks as good as yours.

Chef Tess said...

Wheat gum? You know I didn't think anyone else was hot-dig-a-teee cool enough to even have tried that. We used to walk around with wads of that stuff in our teeth as kids. Ha. Thanks Meadowlark for reminding me! As for Mardi...Hooray!! Oh please let me know what your wheat looks like. I'm curious. Ours was in metal buckets. Is yours stored in plastic or metal? Oh how exciting!

Chef Tess said... is a good article on the fumigation of wheat and it's effects on the bread.

Chef Tess said... "The effect of current and potential grain fumigants on food lipids was examined in two ways. First, wheat was fumigated in vivo and the lipid extracted and compared with that from unfumigated wheat. Second, wheatgerm and canola oil were fumigated in vitro, and the fate of both fumigant and lipid was examined. The fumigants tested were phosphine, methyl bromide, carbon disulfide, cyanogen, and carbonyl sulfide. Fumigation of wheat or oils had no effect on lipid composition as assessed by Fourier transform infrared or ultraviolet spectroscopy. In fumigation of lipids in sealed containers, some fumigant was sorbed by the lipid, but the fumigant was recovered intact after heating. The order of solubility of fumigant in lipid was carbon disulfide > methyl bromide > cyanogen > phosphine = carbonyl sulfide. "

Donna said...

I must confess, I have never seen wheat in this form. It's fascinating to me!

Goob said...

I can pronounce all those words, but heck if I have any idea what that whole fumigation phrase actually means. I am now reminiscing about all the (possibly perfectly good) food my folks tossed into a supersized dumpster when my grandmother had to leave for a nursing home. Lots of stuff from 1969-1975

The Clark Knight said...

this is VERY cool.
I teach baking at a college in Canada and I will be following this closely!