Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
While flour is considered a non-perishable food, it typically has a shelf life of about 6 months in its original packaging. But when stored properly, white flour can last over 10-15 years! Here is how to store flour so that it lasts over a decade.
In an emergency, your family will thank you for being prepared with long-lasting food to get you through hard times. Keeping flour on hand will provide bread, pasta, and other wheat-based foods to sustain any appetite.
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How Does Flour Go Bad?
If left within its original paper packaging, flour can go bad in a few different ways. It is recommended to remove flour from its original bag to another storage method for longer lastability.
Flour has the ability to absorb any lingering flavors or smells around it. For example, if you are storing your flour in its original container alongside your vinegar collection, your flour may begin to take on those tart flavors or smells. When using flour after 6 months stored incorrectly, this is a real possibility.
Insects love to nestle in flour, especially fruit flies. They can easily burrow into open containers and bags, breeding and spreading more bugs into the flour. Sifting your flour consistently is a good way to ensure no bugs are hiding in your open flour storage. Storing flour properly can help you avoid this step.
Although it is a disturbing thought, insect eggs may already be laid within your flour upon purchase. If you pack your flour for long-term storage with insect eggs inside, you can come upon a bad infestation later on. You can freeze or microwave your flour before storing it to ensure no eggs will hatch in storage. Better safe than sorry!
Many times, flour is stored around the stove in a cabinet. Temperature fluctuations from high heat to room temperature can cause mold to grow in your flour. You will likely smell the mold before you see it. There’s nothing wrong with giving open flour the old sniff test before use.
Oxygen interacts with flour, breaking down nutrients within the grains. Whole grain flours tend to oxidate more quickly than white or plain flour. You will see that white flour has a much longer shelf life for long-term storage than whole wheat flour. In contrast, whole wheat flour is much more nutritious than plain white flour.
Expiration Dates in Flour
Flour bought and stored in its original packaging will last about 6 months, as indicated on the package’s expiration date. There are more effective ways of storing flour that can increase the shelf life.
Removing flour from its bag to an airtight container can help it last up to 1 year. Store in an airtight container such as Rubbermaid, lidded mason jars, or vacuum-sealed containers.
You can also use vacuum-sealed bags to store your flour which will increase its shelf life to 1-2 years. These bags are not entirely airtight, as humidity will eventually seep through the bag. However, the removal of air from the bag causes a much longer shelf life.
Take any precautions you need to kill insect eggs before storing your flour this way. Freezing or microwaving your flour for storage will kill any insect eggs before storage. If not, you may be shocked to return to a bag full of flies. Also, keep flour in a cool, dark place for the best shelf life because light can cause the flour to spoil sooner.
Freezing your flour will cause it to last indefinitely. The freezer acts as the perfect preservation environment for flour, however, your freezer or electricity may not be accessible during an emergency.
The best way to store your flour to last for over a decade is to use mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Mylar bags are not susceptible to oxygen or moisture because they are made out of a metal-like material called biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate.
These bags will shield your flour from any light, moisture, or oxygen, making it last as long as possible. Also, any potential insect eggs cannot hatch due to the absence of oxygen.
Why Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers?
In comparison to all other methods, mylar bags with oxygen absorbers will yield the best outcome for decades-long flour storage.
When you first purchase your flour, you want to store it in mylar bags immediately to maximize the shelf life. Also, label the bag with the date and type of flour.
White flour will last from 10-15 years while whole wheat flour will last a maximum of 10 years in this way. Whole wheat flour absorbs moisture better than plain flour, so its shelf life is shorter.
The reasons mylar bags are excellent for long-term storage are:
- Easy to use
- Impermeable to air
- Puncture resistant
- Reflects light
By adding additional insurance with oxygen absorbers, any nonperishable food stored in this way will last a long time.
Steps to Seal Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers
Note: Once you open oxygen absorbers, you will need to use them quickly!
- Set yourself up for success by creating an assembly line for opening the bags, filling them with flour, shaking the bags to settle the flour, and continuing to fill until the bags are full about 5 inches from the top. Mylar bags can be sharp, so you might want to wear gloves.
- Heat your bag sealer and get ready to seal the bags. It’s helpful to store your flour in smaller amounts so you can utilize the entire contents of each bag.
- Add the open oxygen absorbers and seal the bags quickly. Press out as much air as you can and finish sealing until no air is left inside.
- Wait 1 day and then check the seal. If it is airtight, you can add your sealed mylar bags to a bucket with an airtight lid. Label the bags with the food type and the date. Store each bag of flour together in the same bucket to stay organized.
By storing your flour for the long-term, you can provide your family with sustenance should the SHTF. Flour can provide tons of different meals to last your family through an emergency. To keep your flour from spoiling quickly, Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers allow your flour to last 10-15 years when stored properly. Follow these easy steps and enjoy having fresh flour for the next 10 years.
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