If you’re looking to up your collection of long term food storage, flour should be on your list. It’s a pertinent food ingredient that will prove itself useful time and time again.
You may be tempted to store flour in its original packaging and rotate it regularly. While this is possible, it’s not the most cost-effective way to store flour.
If you’ve been wondering how to store flour long term, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn all the best ways to keep your flour fresher for longer!
1. Why Should You Store Flour?
What’s the point in learning how to store flour long term?
Flour is an important item to have if you plan on being self-sufficient for any extended period of time.
This household essential provides many uses in the kitchen and beyond. It’s one of the most common ingredients in many baked goods and one-pot meals.
It can also be used for some less conventional purposes. For example, flour serves as a natural ant and insect repellant for plants. This could come in handy when trying to successfully grow a large garden.
It also cleans stainless steel, so there’s no need to stock up on tons of cleaning supplies for your cookware.
Flour also helps calm acne when mixed with honey. It becomes a homemade paste that you can apply to your face. Hello, natural zit cream!
2. What Causes Flour to Go Bad?
Before I go over how to store flour long term, you should know some basic causes of flour ruining. Even though flour is considered non-perishable, there are some ways that it can go bad.
This will give you a good idea of what you’ll be preventing through the different storage methods listed below.
The top three causes of bad flour are mold, insects, and exposure to oxygen.
When flour is exposed to moisture, it could become moldy. This usually happens if your pantry or storage area is exposed to high levels of humidity.
If the flour smells strong and foul, you can assume it’s not safe to consume.
Insects getting into your food is never fun. Unfortunately, weevils and moths can sneak into your flour supply if not stored properly.
Exposure to Oxygen
Flour, most often whole-grain, can ruin from oxidation. You may have heard of this referred to as “going rancid.” The exposure to oxygen creates mycotoxins in the flour, becoming inedible.
3. How to Determine If Flour Is Fresh
Now that you know what causes the flour to ruin, let’s go over how to determine if the flour is fresh.
First, smell the flour. Fresh flour is essentially odor-free, so you shouldn’t be picking up a sour or moldy smell.
Does the flour appear true to color? White flour should be bright white, while whole-grain flour is tan or beige. If it has a different color than when you first bought it, it’s probably spoiled.
Next, look at the texture. It should be smooth and contain no clumps. Clumps often signify the presence of moisture, which could lead to mold.
The last and most obvious way you can rule out freshness is if there are bugs present. You should toss this flour out immediately.
If you accidentally consume expired flour, you’ll likely be fine. It’s not overly harmful in small amounts, but to be safe, always try to avoid it. The flour can grow harmful toxins after expiration.
4. How to Store Flour Long Term: Air-Tight Containers
Now, let’s go over the best ways for storing flour long term. The most important thing we’re preventing is air getting into the flour. If it’s exposed to air, that means moisture and insects can easily find a way in.
Airtight containers seal off the flour, giving it a longer shelf life. There are three different ways that you can store airtight containers: in a cool, dark place, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
In a Cool, Dark Place
When using airtight containers, storing flour long term in a cool, dark place provides you with three months of shelf life. It gives the shortest shelf life of the listed options, but it’s easy to access when you need it.
What defines a cool, dark area? This could include your regular kitchen pantry or a food storage area that’s set apart for long term storage.
The most important thing about this method is making sure the area is temperature controlled, away from the sunlight, and dry. Using a dehumidifier can help keep moisture from the area.
In the Refrigerator
The next method for storing flour long term in airtight containers is in the refrigerator. This is a smart way to get one year of shelf life out of your flour.
The sealed environment and low temperatures are a sure way to avoid insects.
There’s no right or wrong place to put your flour in the refrigerator. As long it stays sealed in its air-tight container, nothing in the refrigerator should ruin it.
But, just to be safe, try to avoid placing it near liquids that could easily spill on the container.
In the Freezer
Using airtight containers in the freezer is one of the best ways for storing flour long term. It will provide the longest shelf life for flour compared to storing in your pantry or refrigerator.
Even though it is being stored at such low temperatures, you can still scoop the flour as you normally would. Although, letting the flour come to room temperature before using it is a good idea.
You can expect your flour to stay fresh in the freezer for up to two years if stored correctly. That’s hard to beat!
Best Air-Tight Container to Use
Let’s go over the best airtight containers to use for storing flour long term. There are several different kinds of glass and plastic containers you can use depending on your preference.
Keep in mind that the top must seal off completely. For convenience, look for containers that easily reseal after opening.
The top airtight containers I recommend are:
- Ball Mason Jars with Bands and Lids – This classic option is budget-friendly, and you don’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals in plastic. But, you’ll likely have to store flour in smaller quantities.
- OXO Good Grips Pop Containers – These plastic containers with sealable lids are pricey but very reliable. They’re BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
- Vtopmart Airtight Food Storage Containers – These plastic containers are a cheaper alternative to the OXO brand. They’re dishwasher safe, and they also come with reusable labels to keep up with what you have stored.
5. How to Store Flour Long Term: Mylar Bags
For those who are serious about storing flour long term, I recommend using mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
Normally, mylar bags with oxygen absorbers can provide up to 10 years of shelf life. That’s insanely impressive! There’s no need to rotate your stock often with this method.
How do these mylar bags give your flour the ultimate shelf life? The solid materials shield the flour from light, while the oxygen absorbers prevent any kind of insects from invading. And, there’s no worrying about moisture with a strong seal.
These multi-layered mylar bags are made from food-grade, BPA-safe aluminum. The bags also come in multiple sizes, so you can store as much flour as you need.
The durable materials resist anything sharp from making small holes and tears in the bag. The bags are also resealable, so you can get more than one use from them.
FAQs on How to Store Flour Long Term
1. Does the type of flour affect shelf life?
Actually, yes! White flour, the most commonly used flour, keeps longer than whole grain flour. This makes it a better option for storing flour long term.
Why is that? There are three parts that make up a flour grain: the bran, germ, and endosperm.
White flour is refined and processed to the point that only the endosperm of the grain remains.
Whole-grain flour is exactly as it sounds. All three parts of the grain are kept intact. The bran and germ are full of fatty oil, making them commonly go rancid quicker.
Wrapping Up How to Store Flour Long Term
Knowing how to store flour long term can help you keep this household essential fresh for years at a time. There are many different methods that suit just about anyone. Even if you don’t need to store flour for 10 years, using airtight containers will surprise you with how well they keep.
Are you building up your arsenal of supplies? Check out our post on how to store water long term, or try this post on how to store sugar.