I was so excited the day that I read an email from the Local Food Coalition stating that there was a grain mill for sale. I have been wanting and researching what kind of mill I would want to get for probably 2 years.
The Family Grain Mill at Peaceful Valley was high on my list and probably what I was going to get with the added flaker attachment. I had been eyeing others but kept coming back to that one: quality, versatility, hand/electric, you couldn’t lose.
But a friend of mine wanted to sell her grain mill from a company I had never heard of. I had to do a quick search and find out if this baby worked. It would be a great relic of past farm kitchens and would probably outlast me. We found out it was created in 1964 by Lee Engineering, and they still made parts and refurbished them. I had to grab this, it was too exciting, but I’m still going to need a flaker.
Why would you want a grain mill you might ask? Most flour we use can be at least a month old, and flour from any grain or seed will lose nutrition and the oils will start going rancid after the seed has been destroyed.
The beauty of a seed is that it can hold all the information and nutrition for a baby plant to sprout, grow big, flower, and reproduce seed. The closer you use the flour to the time that it was a viable seed, the better tasting and nutritious your food will be.
Now part of the system that seeds use to hold all that nutrition and maintain viability also creates a downside. There are chemicals that bind the nutrients up and inhibit the spoilage.
One way to get around that problem is to look at what traditional cultures did. They soaked their whole or rolled grains and flour in water or whey. When you soak the seed you trick it into thinking that it should prepare itself to grow; the inhibitors release the nutrients, and the seed becomes easier to digest. Sourdoughs and porridge are not so common now.
Grinding your own flours gives you more choices on the grain or seed used, and saves money as you buy at bulk prices in larger quantities, or grow your own. The hard winter wheats they use in most foods today have higher gluten content than before, which can equate to being harder for many folks to digest.
If you are interested in growing some of your own grains and seeds you can take a look at “Homegrown Whole Grains” and choose some winter or summer crops that are great cover crops and make lots of biomass for the compost piles.