For the past fifty years, prevailing wisdom has been that hard red winter wheat kernels are the ultimate survival staple. This was based on their record in the past of successfully staving off famine in many parts of the world. This unprocessed form requires someone to grind it, mill it into flour or otherwise do some pretty hefty processing to get it ready to eat.
I am phasing out my red wheat now, almost ten years after buying it, because I am not convinced this really is the best form of grain to store. It only seems like a good idea until you actually discover what is involved to make it palatable.
On the other hand, processed whole grain wheat biscuits, commonly used for cereals, seem to me to be the ultimate storage staple in reality. It's ready to eat. You wouldn't believe what it can be made into with nothing but water, a few cooking ingredients and a mixing bowl. The other day a woman made me a Weet-Bix date cake in just under thirty minutes and cooked it inside a 12 volt toaster oven! All she had in this thing was wheat biscuits, raisins, milk, molasses, some self-raising flour and a dash of oil!
I believe in it's endurance as a staple when packed in a mylar bag with oxy absorber because I recently cracked open an old drum and it had survived a decade better than oats and rice, with almost no discernible change in taste, smell or flavor. I poured some instant milk on it and sprinkled some old sugar on it and it was a very satisfying meal.
It comes off pretty superb in comparison with the wheat kernels in a bucket. The truth is, even though I have a grain grinder, both manual and electric, I'm just not sure I want to spend a couple hours grinding those kernels into flour each day that probably isn't much good for anything but mush with milk in the end. Not to mention the electrical power needed to run a 12 volt grinder for hours at a time.
Having had a decade of experience now to draw on, I have to say you could do a lot worse than to go out and buy a trailer bed of weet-bix. With one drum of sugar and two drums of powdered milk, there's your basic famine survival kit right there. This cereal has been processed into a light, fluffy flake that is a million times easier to work with than a grain kernel and if anything it seems to have had no impact at all on the shelf life.
Here in Australia it remains cheap, ubiquitous and has not gone up in price the way other food has. It comes off the retail shelf ready to go into storage and that alone is a huge recommendation for it.
I say these wheat biscuits could do twenty years easy if kept cool, dry and stored away from light. I'm certain there would be almost no degradation if they are in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.