The flour will only last for approximately six months in its original paper bag. It can stay preserved for 6 – 10 months if it is moved to an airtight container. The best approach for long-term storage (over three months) is Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, which should be stored in an airtight container.
Why Flour Goes Bad
Like any other dry food, flour can go wrong if exposed to oxygen, light, dampness, or insects. If you leave a bag of flour in your pantry for a long time, the following are some of the queries that might develop and lead to rancidity.
How Long Can You Store Flour?
The shoal life of flour is relatively short, often just a few months. It’s best to use flour within one year after production because long-term storage reduces the nutritional value significantly. When stored properly in a pantry, refined flour will keep for up to a year. It should be consumed within a year if kept in the refrigerator. White flour will last for two years if frozen.
I believe that food kept in the freezer should last indefinitely – because it’s too cold for anything to decay in there – but flour is supposed to keep for two years frozen.
Best Ways to Store Flour
Here are some flour storage solutions. The most excellent way to store flour for extended periods is with Mylar bags that have oxygen absorbers. There is no other long-term flour storage technique that is entirely trustworthy.
Shelf Life: Approximately 6-10 months
Flour, on the other hand, seldom outlasts its original paper package. If you take it out of the package and seal it in an airtight container, it can last considerably longer.
Another concern is that the flour may already contain insect eggs when you buy it. It can take weeks, if not months, for the eggs to hatch. You’ll have a nasty infestation to get rid of once they do. As a result, before storing it, it’s a good idea to eliminate insect eggs in the flour by freezing or microwaving them first.
Some suitable airtight containers include:
- Mason jars, vacuum sealer containers
- Containers with tight lids like those produced by Progressive Prepworks or Rubbermaid’s Brilliance are an excellent choice.
Shelf Life: Indefinitely
If you have room in your freezer, flour should be frozen. It freezes well and lasts indefinitely if kept in the freezer. If there is a power outage, though, you’ll need to have a backup plan.
Remove the flour from the freezer and allow it to come to room temperature before using it. Flour can digest moisture due to condensation while it is being warmed. Keep the flour in its sealed container to prevent moist flour; condensation will accumulate on the container rather than seeping into the flours.
Drying Damp Flour:
If the flour gets wet, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake at 200°F for 20 minutes. If the flour is exceptionally moist, you may need to bake it for up to an hour before it dries. After drying, sift it to remove any clumps.
Shelf Life: 1-2 years
Because of the vacuum sealing process, the air is removed from the packaging. The bags are not entirely leak-proof; eventually, air and humidity will seep through. However, because there is more limited oxygen in the flour, it will keep for a long time.
Insects are kept out of your flour by vacuum sealing. However, insect eggs that are already present in the flour are not destroyed. That’s why many people first attempt to destroy bugs in dry food before storage.
Buckets, Plastic Containers or Jars with Oxygen Absorbers
Shelf Life: 5+ years
Oxygen absorbers are small balls of iron that capture oxygen. If you place OA packets inside a food-grade plastic container filled with flour, the oxygen in the container will be absorbed, and insect proliferation will be prevented. Insect eggs can’t develop because of a lack of oxygen.
The issue is that most storage containers aren’t very airtight, eventually leaking. This includes both recycled soda bottles and food buckets.
Casks with gasket lids (see on Amazon) are generally superior at preventing air leakage, so they’re a good alternative if you need to store a lot of flour.
Another advantage of using canning jars is that they are incredibly sturdy. The oxygen absorbers will have worked if the lid appears “sucked down,” which means you’ll know they’re in there! Just keep them somewhere cool and dark, as heat and light might also contribute to spoilage.
Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers
Shelf Life: 10+ years
The best option for keeping flour for months, years, or even decades is to use oxygen absorbers in sealed Mylar bags.
Mylar bags are made from a metal-like substance that is moisture and oxygen resistant. Thanks to the Sealing of grain in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, the flour is entirely secure from light, moisture, and air. Because there isn’t enough air in the packaging, insect eggs can’t hatch.
On the other hand, white flour has a shelf life of 10-15 years if stored in an airtight container. This way, whole-wheat flour will keep for approximately ten years.
Dry Canning – Not Recommended
The procedure of dry canning is to put dry meals like flour into canning jars with lids and then bake them. The heat is said to sterilize the food and create a seal as a result of this process. Although canned goods are placed in cans, dry canning is not the same as water bath canning.
There are several hazards connected with dry canning, as NM State University has stated.
- There’s no proof that the method sterilizes food.
- The jar might get trapped with moisture because of it.
- If food is stored in an oxygen-free container, Botulism poisoning may result. This is not a problem with foods that contain less than 10% moisture, such as flour, but condensation trapped inside the jar might cause the flour to get quite wet.
- Jars can occasionally EXPLODE, which might be very harmful.
The only acceptable storage method for flour is with oxygen absorbers in mylar bags.
Whole Wheat and Other Flours
Whole wheat flour is very sensitive to moisture, so the longer it stays in an airtight container at room temperature, the shorter its storage life becomes. If you keep whole wheat flour in an airtight container at room temperature for more than six months, it will begin to mold. Whole wheat flour should last from 3 to 6 months if kept at room temperatures and 6 to 8 months if refrigerated or frozen (source).
Remember that the shelf life of any flour other than refined white flour will be substantially shorter. Buckwheat, rye, amaranth, and oats flours, and gluten-free options like almond or coconut flour contain numerous oils that will go rancid faster for this reason. You’ll be able to tell whether your flour is sour by its aroma. If you discover a musty, greasy, foul-smelling odor in your flour storage – dispose of it.
Flour’s Greatest Enemies
There are a few things to accept when keeping flour for an extended period. They are insects, moisture, and corruption. Let’s take a gaze at each one in turn.
Mold: Flour can absorb moisture and mold due to humidity or temperature changes. You’ll be able to detect the mold before you see it.
Oxidation: When oxygen from the air combines with nutrients in the flour, they break down. This is a significant issue with whole-grain flours. The natural oils in whole grains will turn rancid as a result of oxidation.
Insects: Even if you shop your flour in airtight containers, insects like weevils or moths may still infest it. How is that possible? Flour may contain insect eggs when you buy it. They sway take weeks or even months to hatch, depending on the surroundings. You have an infestation once they hatch, which is tough to eliminate.
Absorbing Smells: Flour, like other carbohydrates, can absorb odors from other substances near it. Do you have onions near your flour? Your cake will also have an oniony scent because of this. You don’t want to keep flour (or any other food) close to chemicals such as cleaning products for the same reason.
Storing Flour with Mylar and Buckets
5-gallon food-grade buckets are ideal for storing flour. You may get these from your local bakery or order them online. Make sure you’re using a food-safe bucket if you plan to keep anything in them, so you know what you’re putting into it isn’t going to leach any potentially harmful chemicals.
You should be able to fill these buckets with around 30-35 pounds of flour. Make sure you have gamma seal lids for them. They’re easy to find online, and they’ll significantly enhance the life of your flour by keeping moisture out. The flour may be kept directly in the bucket or Ziplock bags within it.
Baskets are ideal for long-term storage, but to preserve food for longer than a year, you’ll want to go an extra step – Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. This is the preferred food storage technique among preppers, and it’s also how we advocate storing coffee beans. The Mylar is made of metalized polyester impermeable to weevils while also preventing all light from escaping.
You put a lot of effort and space into making sure your family is safe in the event of an emergency. You’re doing things half-heartedly if you don’t take the required measures to safeguard your assets. You’ll be much off if you follow the guidelines listed above to guarantee that your family has what is more helpful when you need it more than ever before.
Do you have any flour storage advice or techniques that you’ve picked up? Have you had firsthand knowledge of any of these reasons for flour to go wrong? In the comments area below, let us know if there are any additional tips and methods for storing flour!