I recently receive a question about using Bulgur in food storage. Short-term food storage or long-term food storage is either an option?
First let’s start by discussing what is…….
Bulgur – Bulgur, Bulgar, Bulghur, Burghul, Burghoul, Balgour, Boulgur or also known as Bhulghur wheat. Roman’s called it cerealis; Israelites called it dagan and in the Middle East it is called arisah.
This is considered a 4,000 year old process
Bulgur is whole wheat which can be a mixture of several different species of wheat or can be only durum wheat. These grains have been parboiled or partially boiled and then dried and cracked. There are different types / granules of bulgur wheat: fine, medium and coarse. The finer the granule the quicker the cooking time, Bulgur cooks very quickly. It actually cooks quicker than rice and is actually more nutritious than rice.
Taste: When cooked it has a chewy texture similar to cereal and has a delicious nutty flavor. If produced from hard red wheat it is darker in color and richer flavor than Bulgur made from soft white wheat.
Origins: Bulgur originated in the Mediterranean region and is still used prevalently in the Middle East. It is thought of one of the earliest forms of processed wheat. The Chinese emperor Shen Nung declared it one of the scared crops in 2,800 B.C. And you can find Biblical references to Bulgur indicated it was used by ancient Babylonians, Hittites and Hebrews some 4000 years ago.
Uses: Most commonly found in Middle Eastern cooking, and is extremely versatile grain. Bulgur can be used in place of wheat berries, such as a filling breakfast cereal top with nuts or fresh fruit. Use it like rice or pasta as a side dish or as an ingredient in salads (use a handful in your salad to make it more filling), soups, stews, casseroles, pilafs, stuffing, breads, and an extender for some meat products or as a meat substitute in a vegetarian dish.
Nutritional Information: Is a healthy whole grain, high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat. It is rich in B-vitamins, phosphorous, manganese, iron and calcium as well as a good source of folic acid
Quality and Purchase: Make sure the retailer / producer / farmer have a good turnover rate, so you receive the freshest product. When purchasing in bulk or smaller packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture present. If your product is not packaged in a sealed container or package then divide your purchase into usable portions and package into airtight / vacuum packaged containers and store in a cool dry and dark place.
As compared to other forms of wheat, Bulgur wheat may not be as simple to purchase depending on what part of the country you live in. One might start at your local health food store or Middle Eastern market. Of course, there is the internet, buying online is always an option for anything now days. As with any internet purchase, take some time to search and find exactly what you want.
Packaging: All grains should be stored in a moisture proof food grade container. This container could be a Mylar bag, polyethylene bags, plastic buckets or #10 cans. Store your bulgur wheat in manageable amounts such as 5 or 10 lb bags; this will also help with rotation. Most importantly it allows easier inspection and if contamination does occur it does not allow exposure to your whole stock of bulgur wheat. Also several smaller bags can be places inside a 5 gallon plastic bucket.
Note: Rodents and insects can penetrate plastic bags.
Storage Conditions: Storage at 40-60°F is optimal. Grains are not damaged by freezing temperature, but temperatures above 60°F causes a more rapid decline in seed viability (ability to germinate) but only a slightly faster loss in food value. Moisture above 15% will allow molds to grow. When the moisture reaches 20% some bacteria can start to grow. The result is spoiled grain unfit for use. Store containers off the floor, especially off concrete floors, concrete can wick moisture to stored containers very easily. Inspect grain often for insect activity.
Shelf life: Rotate, Rotate, Rotate.....with any of your food storage you need to develop a program to rotate your supplies on a regular basis. First in first out.....in others words as you use your stored bulgur wheat replace it with new bulgur wheat. Label each container with product and storage date. Storing bulgur is overall as simple as storing any other grains. It is best to keep bulgur in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. Bulgur contains some of its natural oils and will tend to go bad if placed in warm areas. Long-term storage is not an option. In the refrigerator, bulgur will usually keep about six months. If kept in the freezer and is tightly wrapped, mostly likely will last 12 months.
Inspect grain often for insect activity. Treat for insects (see below) or discard affected lots. 
Method Insect Control Recommendation
Insecticides: NOT RECOMMENDED may be toxic if not correctly used
Heating: NOT RECOMMENDED, too difficult to control the correct amount of heat to apply.
Bay leaves, nails or salt: NOT RECOMMENDED, these have absolutely no effect on insects or insect eggs.
Freezing: Freeze 1-15 lb bags of wheat for 2-3 days. Allow to warm for 24 hours. Freezing kills live pests, but not insect eggs. Multiple freezing and warming cycles may be needed to kill all insects and hatching eggs.
Vacuum Sealing: Seal wheat in vacuum bags using follow vacuum sealer instructions. Regular polyethylene bags are not suitable to maintain a vacuum.
Dry Ice (CO2): Place 3-4” of grain in the bottom of a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Use gloves when handling dry ice. Add 2-3 oz. crushed dry ice. Fill the container to the full height. Place the lid on top slightly askew. After 30 minutes, seal the lid air-tight. Dry ice will control most adult and larval insects present, but usually will not destroy eggs or pupae. If properly applied, a single treatment with dry ice is sufficient for long-term storage. Annual dry ice treatments are not necessary unless an infestation is recognized in the stored grain. Treating grain with dry ice does not reduce its ability to sprout or its food value.
Oxygen absorbers: Seal wheat in Mylar-type bags or #10 cans along with appropriate number of oxygen absorber packets to create an oxygen-free atmosphere. This will kill adult insects and prevent larval insects from surviving.
No treatment: Choose insect-free sources for wheat. Store them in clean and dry containers impermeable to insects.
* Polyethylene bags and 5-gallon plastic buckets will not maintain an oxygen-free environment after dry-ice or oxygen absorber treatment. Over time oxygen will re-enter the container and this may allow larvae to grow to adults and cause an infestation during storage.
Use from storage: Wheat has many uses, it can be ground for flour, popped, steamed, cooked, cracked or germinated or sprouted.
Bulgur…..is definitely one of the grains you should try. Why….. If stored correctly can be a perfect short-term food storage (up to 1 year) item due to its high nutritional benefits, easy preparation (since it is already precooked, you can soak in water and eat cold or cook it quickly like rice) and can be added to a variety of foods to add a flavorful taste or add additional nutrition.
While doing some research for this particular blog, I came across the site I listed below. I loved the breakdown of wheat types and uses….. They also have some very good information on their site....so if looking for more information on Bulgur wheat...I would check them out. I haven’t bought anything from them at this time but plan to in the future.
Bulgur Wheat Types
#1 Fine Traditional Bulgur makes a nutritious breakfast cereal and is perfect for breads and desserts. Fine and medium grinds are both used in tabouli salad, pilaf, and in any recipe as a substitute for rice.
#2 Medium Traditional Bulgur is an all-purpose size used in salads, stews, soups, multi-grain bakery goods, and especially in meatless burgers and chili.
#3 Coarse Traditional Bulgur for low-fat stuffings, casseroles and vegetarian tacos, and can also be used in pilafs, soups, salads and artisan breads.
#4 Extra Coarse Traditional Bulgur for hearty soups, pilafs and breads.
#5 Half Cuts Traditional Bulgur– extra large grind for use in soups, pilafs and specialty recipes.
Whole Kernel Traditional Bulgur - can be used as a key ingredient in hearty soups and to impart whole kernel goodness and texture to artisan breads.