If you are going to be storing whole grain as part of your food preparedness solution, then a hand grain mill is the tool you need to break it down into flower.
Sure you can cook the grain as is, but by reducing it to a fine flower you open up a large number of cooking and baking options. You will end up not only extracting more nutrition out of the grain, but when you bake the flower into bread you will have a much tastier meal than boiled gruel.
When choosing a grain mill you need to decide if you want an electric powered mill or a hand grain mill. We will focus on the hand grain mill here.
First I want to you about cost. A hand grain mill will cost between about $60 and $400. The one at the $400 level is considered to be the best, but only get this one if ease of use, craftsmanship, and ruggedness out-way the cost. A less expensive model can get the job done although not as easily. The cheapest one is still infinitely easier than a mortar/pestle.
The first one I will talk about is the most expensive and the best: Country Living Hand Grain Mill. This mill comes with a limited lifetime warranty and should last several lifetimes. It uses specially designed carbon steel grinding plates that can grind 2 1/2 pounds of fine flower in about 9 minutes. The large flywheel is so easy to turn that a 6 year-old girl can easily turn it. It comes with a solid I- Beam construction from aircraft-grade aluminum, double sealed industrial grade ball bearings, and a stainless steel shaft. Please be aware that this mill must be installed with bolts onto a counter, workbench, or other suitable surface. Also, if you are going to grind anything larger than wheat berries then you will need to install the optional corn and bean auger. One last thing: don’t drop it on the floor. It is so sturdy that it won’t hurt the mill but it will probably hurt the floor!
Next I want to talk about the Wonder Junior Hand Grain Mill, which is advertised as “The World’s Best Hand Grain Mill”. At about half the cost of the Country Living Mill, it is indeed a very good value. It uses stone heads to mill dry grains and stainless steel burrs to do the grinding of wet or oily grains and beans. It is fairly easy to operate and produces a fine flower without having to mill it a second time. One of the nice features is the heavy-duty patented double clamp which makes it easy to secure to tables and counters up to 2 inches thick. It is easy to use, just fill the hopper, turn the handle, and out comes flower.
Last I am going to talk about the Victorio Hand Crank Grain Mill. It uses stainless steel burrs to do the grinding and will produce flower that is fine enough for bread but not for cake. It comes with a clamp to fasten it to a table. The clamp isn’t as good as the Wonder Junior’s so you may have to re-tighten it every once in awhile. The flower can be adjusted from course to fine (not superfine). This is a good basic model that will get the job done when you need it. The smallish hopper can be augmented by cutting out the bottom of a plastic milk bottle and inverting it over the hopper.
Any hand mill is better than none. Even if you never have to use it in an emergency, it is still money well spent. Like I said earlier, if you feel that you just have to get the best and then don’t buy any at all because you can’t afford it, you are making a mistake. If nothing else at least get the Victorio.