Flour From Wild Grasses

Discussion in 'Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Food' started by Tig Steele, Sep 23, 2018.

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  1. Tig Steele

    Tig Steele Member

    Blog Posts:
    Flour from wild grass seed

    (See full blog post will clearer pictures here)


    Some of you may know, that all grass seed is edible. Some may be bitter and require
    leaching in water over night and there are many that barely have the calories to justify the
    caloric expenditure of processing. Still it's a handy fact to know. In this article I'm going to
    go over some of the more common grasses that you'll find in North America that have a
    decent nutritional value.
    Crowfoot Grass

    Crowfoot grass is a common food in some parts of the world, it can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted or milled into flour. Harvest when the seeds come off with a simple tug, if they come off easily they’re ready to eat.
    Do not eat the grass itself as it can be mildly toxic. The roots are semi sweet and can be chewed to get the starches and sugars out and the remaining fibers spat out (much like sugarcane or cattail root). There are no look alikes to crowfoot grass.
    Foxtail Grass

    Foxtail grass is one of the first grains harvested by humans and while now in western society it is considered a weed it is still cultivated in many eastern countries for it’s wheat like grain. The seeds can be eaten at any stage of their development, though are best once fully developed and dried on the stem (when it changes color).
    It’s important to remove the seeds from the head carefully as to not leave any spike, though they aren’t toxic the will catch in your mouth and throat and can cause cuts or lesions.
    To harvest cut the seed heads from the grass stalk and put them in a paper bag or other container and then wait until the seeds begin to fall off normally, rub the remaining seeds off the head being careful not to get any spikes/chafe in with your seeds. If you are in a rush you can lightly fire them to remove the spikes/chafe and then carefully rub the seeds from the flower head.
    Once you have your seeds rinse and dry them and then give one a taste test, if it’s particularly bitter you can soak the seeds overnight to help with the flavor, but some varieties will always be bitter.
    The seeds can be milled into flour or boiled into a porridge.

    Barley is cultivated around the world in the western world it’s most commonly used as a base for malt beverages, but this cereal can be used to make flour, breads, a thickening agent in soups and stews and even roasted to make and extender for coffee.
    It can be eaten at any stage, though is best when fully developed and about to drop the seeds naturally.

    Wheat is a staple world wide for flours and breads. It can be found growing in all 50 states and can be easily identified by it’s height (up to 5 feet tall). This grass I assume most of you are already familiar with and know it's uses. I'll get into processing at the end of the article.

    Oats are another staple food crop worldwide. They can be crushed or rolled into oatmeal or milled into flour.
    Oats should be harvested when the first kernels turn a cream color for maximum quantity. If you wait until the stalks are completely ripe you will have lost a majority of your kernels.
    Processing Seeds/Grains Into Flour
    Cereals and grains are best harvested when the majority of the crop turns a golden brown color, but still has a few areas of green. Grab handfuls of the stalks and cut them with a sharp blade, make sure you leave enough stalk to work with later. The stalks can be tied into bundles or spread out on a designated surface and allowed to fully ripen and dry. Make sure they have plenty of sun and are in a well ventilated area to avoid mildew, this is especially important with the heads. Once they have taken a golden color they are ready to be threshed.
    Threshing is the process of removing the seeds from the stalks. The simplest method of threshing is to take a handful by the stalks and beat the heads inside a container to knock the seeds free. The remaining stalks are called straw and can be used as such. The seeds/grains are now ready to be winnowed.
    Winnowing is just removing the bits of straw and seed heads (called chaff) that are left with the seeds after the winnowing process. The most common way of winnowing is to slowly pour seeds from on container to another during a stiff breeze. The breeze will blow the chaff away while the heavier seeds pour into the other container. You’ll want to repeat this step a couple times to make sure that all the chaff is removed.
    At this point the seeds can be stored for later use. The seeds store better than flour, so don’t mill/grind it into flour all at once. The seeds should be stored in a airtight container that animals can’t get into and kept in a cool dry area. The seeds can be used for planting next years crop or ground/milled into flour with a mortar and pestle.
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