Canned Wheat

In an effort to sell more wheat, the Kansas Wheat Commission invented canned wheat. It began selling it in 1961 under the brand name Redi-Wheat.

By 1963, the product was acknowledged to have been a flop.

Perhaps the problem was that it wasn’t clear what canned wheat was. A kind of oatmeal in a can? I'm not sure. The only description I could find was in an article in the Muscatine Journal (Jan 12, 1962), and it really didn't shed much light on the matter:

This ready-prepared wheat food takes its place in many different dishes from soup to dessert, reports Jewel Graham, Iowa State University extension nutritionist. To use “as is” in place of rice or potatoes, simply heat it in a little water for a few minutes before serving.

Emporia Gazette - Feb 23, 1961

Council Grove Republican - Feb 22, 1961
(Note the caption names all the men in the photo, but purposefully excludes the two female employees)

     Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 29, 2020
     Category: Food | 1960s

Sounds like frumenty, which is centuries old.

Or, vide sub, Postum. Yech.
Posted by Richard Bos on 02/29/20 at 06:52 AM
Looks like canned bulgur. Seeing how canned potatoes makes potatoes look bad, I can understand why nobody wanted to buy this stuff even though dried bulgur is still sold at various grocery stores.
Posted by Yudith on 02/29/20 at 08:39 AM
I missed my calling. I should have devoted my like to “spaghetti research.”
Posted by Brian on 02/29/20 at 11:50 AM
Read about it here in the Congressional Record: it’s de-hulled, washed, and processed wheat kernels.
Posted by Mark on 02/29/20 at 03:09 PM
And there’s a long report here, with photos:
Posted by Mark on 02/29/20 at 03:13 PM
Mark -- that's some great research! You found the motherlode of canned-wheat info.
Posted by Alex on 02/29/20 at 04:22 PM
It's simply bulgur. These days it's sold in bags, since it's as shelf-stable as rice. It's the main ingredient of tabouli, and is used in cuisines as diverse as Middle Eastern and Haitian.
Posted by ges on 02/29/20 at 06:41 PM
ges is correct. Tabouli is tasty, as are many other dishes made with bulgur. If you are a vegetarian you can also make chili with it. If you like to cook and try new recipes, give it a try.
Posted by Patrck on 03/01/20 at 07:49 AM
Now I finally understand the title of The Guess Who's 1969 album, "Canned Wheat." I loved that when I was in high school but never understood the title reference (and maybe there's no connection, but it's quite a coincidence).
Posted by Dody on 03/02/20 at 10:18 AM
Ate a lot of this for a while. my mother used it in things like meatloaf and green beans. As I remember it added a little but of a nutty flavor. I never was sure why my mom used it when we had lots of wheat out in the grain bins.

Posted by Tim on 05/10/20 at 08:12 AM
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