Wheat berries in freezer?
June 22, 2022 2:16 PM   Subscribe

My very first "Can I eat it?" question! Woo-hoo! Wheat berries edition.

Wheat berries. In the freezer for 7+ years. In a grocery produce bag. The power has gone out at least once in that time. Was thinking of grinding them into flour. The internet ranges from "yeah, probably" to "definitely not." They look fine. Yes, no, maybe? Thanks!!
posted by Melismata to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
Best answer: I doubt they’d hurt you, but I’m guessing they’re an un-palatable combo of rancid and freezer burnt.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:51 PM on June 22, 2022 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Fine to eat. People have been storing whole grains for years since the dawn of agriculture, but probably not generally for quite so long. They won't hurt you, but there is a possibility they will taste a little rancid.
posted by ssg at 2:51 PM on June 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Like, dry whole wheat berries? Absolutely fine. They would be fine in a cool modern basement for a few good years, and would go bad via visible mold or maybe rancidification if some got cracked or crushed. None of that would happen in a few days of thawing. Obviously discard if they are soft, show mold, or smell rancid when thawed.

If you don't want to eat them you can mail them to me, I would slow simmer with some salt, fat, onions and herbs :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:53 PM on June 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Let some of them thaw, then see if they smell rancid. Grains go “off” when the
oil in the bran oxidizes and gets rancid (or, as others have noted, if there is visible mold, or a moldy smell).
If they’re okay, you could toast them lightly, the do a coarse grind and cook as you would cereal. You don’t say how many pounds you have, but if it’s more than 8oz/300g, I’d suggest doing it in smaller batches. This will also help you determine if it can be salvaged.
If not - bird food!
posted by dbmcd at 2:55 PM on June 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Wheat, properly stored in dry conditions, can be kept for many years. Seven years frozen is fine, though there's likely to be an unpleasant freezer flavor since a produce bag isn't very good protection. The only concern would be if power cuts were prolonged enough to allow mold growth due to all the moisture inside the freezer.
posted by theory at 2:56 PM on June 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In a grocery produce bag? No. Not because they will hurt you, but because they will taste like freezer. And possibly like mold since produce bags aren't designed to keep things air tight, and there has probably been condensation inside when the freezer was not maintaining temperature.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2022

Response by poster: Thawed a few, chewed on them. No taste of rancid or freezer. Am going to make wheat bread this weekend, woo hoo! Thanks all!

P.S. SaltySalticid, can you give me your recipe?? :)
posted by Melismata at 7:15 PM on June 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

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