Posted by: beyonddinner | December 31, 2010

Cleaning grains

This year we subscribed to the Pioneer Valley Grain and Bean CSA for the 2nd time and picked up our share in November.   We picked up about 90-ish pounds of various grains and a few pounds of beans (Arikara, Jacob’s Cattle, and Tiger Eye varieties).  Last year we didn’t do much to clean the grains (besides picking out the obvious things that didn’t belong), but this year we decided to give cleaning a try to see if it changed the quality of the flour we get.  Here’s the process we used.

First a photo of the grain (a hard red winter wheat) before cleaning:

The black dots have got to go – they are various seeds that have gotten into the wheat.

We put a few cups of the grain in a large bowl and filled with water.  This grain is particularly “dirty”, but it shows the cleaning process really well in these photos.  It is the dirtiest of all the grains by a large margin – the rest of the grains will be much easier to do.

Once you agitate the water and grain a bit, you can see a bunch of stuff floats to the top.  We used a strainer to remove that. Next we spread out the grains onto some small window screens that we propped up on some overturned bowls to ensure good air flow.

Once the grain substantially dried out we picked out the remaining black seeds and other obvious impurities – this was a pain and took some time.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Much better!

Now that we’ve done some baking with cleaned and sifted ground wheat – we are hooked.  It’s just enough better to go through with cleaning the rest of it.  Thankfully most of the grains are much cleaner than this bunch – the rinsing and skimming off of the floating chaff and seeds seems to do the trick for most of it.





  1. Thank you for the tip! We have a couple of pounds of organic wheat berries we got from our CSA and I’ve been intimidated by the prospect of picking out all of the little black seeds. This looks much easier!

  2. Great Ryan! I hope it goes well and that the washing part gets rid of most of the seeds. In the batch in the pictures we still had quite a bit to remove by hand. Every time we were on the phone (near where the seeds were drying) we spent a few minutes picking them out. We were glad we finally got that batch finished!

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