How to store flour: Is this really that important?

December 6, 2012

I used to think that just throwing the flour sack in the cupboard would get the job done. I mean if the paper sack is good enough for the store, why shouldn’t it be sufficient for my pantry? Well, I was wrong. Depending on where you live and what type of flour you have, how flour is stored can be the difference between, fresh and flour gone wrong.

All Purpose Flour: This flour is most commonly used and accessible flour in the United States. It can be kept for up to 8 months if stored in a sealed container, in a cool, dark place where it is safe from infestation and spoilage. If you choose to store it in the refrigerator, it can last up to an entire year.

Whole Wheat Flour: This needs to be stored differently than all purpose flour because the wheat germ in this flour will cause it to turn rancid (bad) much faster than all purpose. Store whole wheat flour in an air tight container for 6 months to a year in a freezer or refrigerator; if stored in the cupboard, it will become useless within about 3 months.

Cindy Falk is our Nutrition Educator here at Kansas Wheat and wants to remind our readers, “If you’re storing whole wheat flour in the refrigerator or freezer; make sure to remove the amount you will need for cooking and let it warm to room temperature before use.”

I personally have never had issues with bugs, but several other bloggers and food sites suggest that weevils can be the death of your flour. In order to keep flour safe, and the bugs out, make sure to store in an impenetrable, air tight container. If you really want to keep the bugs away, put a bay leaf in our near your flour container; weevils hate the strong herb smell. Also, several sites recommend storing flour in the freezer for 24-48 hours after bringing it home from the grocery store to kill any bugs or eggs that may reside in the flour.

One way to ruin that 5lb bag of flour in your cupboard is by placing it next to strong smelling foods or chemicals. Flour is like a sponge and will absorb whatever it is around. So if you want your flour to smell like Pine Sol or onions, set it in the cupboard right next to them. However, if you desire the sweet, natural smell and taste for your cooking, place it near bland foods and in (yes I am going to say it again) an air tight container. 

Flour can and will spoil. Therefore, it is necessary to store it properly to save money and have the best baked goods on your table.

by Nicole Lane, Kansas Wheat Communications Intern. Originally from rural Oregon, Nicole is currently a freshman studying Agriculture Communications & Journalism at Kansas State University.