Flour is an important food for preppers to include in their store, but if not stored properly it can go bad. If you store flour correctly, it can last for a long time. There are a variety of ways to store flour, depending on how long you want to store it for.
What Makes Flour Go Bad?
There are several ways flour can go bad, which you can prevent using different ways to store it.
Flour can absorb moisture, which means that mould can begin to grow. The first sign of mould will be the flour starting to smell mouldy.
Flour often comes with unwanted visitor: flour mites and weevils. These are tiny insects that like to live in flour and wheat products. They can lay a lot of eggs, so if flour is stored for a long time, you can end up with an infestation.
Oxidation occurs when nutrients in flour react with oxygen in the air, making the flour become rancid. This affects whole grain flour more than white flour, as it has more natural oils that react with oxygen.
Flour also absorbs any strong smells from other items stored nearby. This can affect the flavour of anything that you make using the flour.
Buying Flour In Bulk
You can buy many different types of flour in large sacks. This is a convenient way to purchase flour in larger quantities than the standard supermarket bags.
Often, large sacks of flour are better value than buying the same quantity in smaller bags. There is also a large choice of different types of flour when you buy online.
Store Flour In Its Original Paper Bag At Room Temperature
Not the best way to store flour long term, but it will last for several months in a kitchen cupboard in its original paper packaging. If you want to store flour in its original bag or sack, keep it in a cool, dry and dark place. Make sure there are no strong smelling foods nearby.
Store Flour In Airtight Containers At Room Temperature
Storing flour in an airtight container will increase its shelf life up to around 12 months. It will also reduce the chance of your flour absorbing smells from other food. Make sure that the container is dry, because any moisture will increase the chances of mould.
An airtight container will stop insects getting in to your flour. However, flour does often contain (harmless) flour mite and weevil eggs, and an airtight container won’t prevent these from hatching. If you freeze or briefly microwave the flour before storing in airtight containers, it will kill the insect eggs.
Vacuum Seal Flour For Storage
Vacuum sealing flour using a vacuum sealing machine will increase its shelf life to between 1 and 2 years. Use the vacuum sealing machine to seal an entire bag of flour rather than putting loose flour into a vacuum seal bag. The vacuum sealing machine will suck out any flour that is loose.
As with airtight container storage, it will also prevent insects getting in to your flour, but will not kill any eggs that are already there. Freezing or microwaving the flour before vacuum sealing it will kill any eggs.
Store Flour In The Freezer
Flour freezes well, and will store almost indefinitely in the freezer. Freezing also kills any insect eggs that are in the flour, preventing flour mites or weevils. Freeze flour in airtight bags or containers.
When defrosting, leave the flour in its container to defrost, otherwise condensation will make the flour moist.
Store Flour In Mylar Bags With Oxygen Absorbers
Mylar bags are great for storing many different kinds of food. They are made from mylar foil, which blocks light, oxygen and moisture. Add an oxygen absorber to the bag to remove any oxygen trapped inside and you can store flour for 10-15 years. The removal of oxygen also deals with any insect eggs that are in the flour, because the insects need oxygen.
Although freezing flour allows long term storage, storing flour in mylar bags is a better long term solution. A power cut could defrost everything in your freezer, meaning you’d have to replace it all. Mylar bags require no power for storage, and so aren’t affected by a power cut.