White all-purpose flour can be stored short-term in an airtight container, but it can also be stored long-term for emergency storage. Keeping bleached-all-purpose types of flour is pretty straightforward. If you are holding it short-term in your pantry, make sure it’s in an airtight container. If you are storing it long-term, it needs to be repackaged into Oxygen-free storage.
When and if you start experimenting with milling your flour from wheatberries (husked wheat kernels) or purchasing whole wheat flour, the storage rules and the shelf-life are different. Whole wheat flour is similar to fresh vegetables and fruit when it comes to shelf-life.
If you want to be a flour storage pro, read on.
How To Store White Flour: Short-term
Store white flour by removing it from the paper packaging and pouring it into an airtight container. Airtight containers keep out moisture and prevent the flour from soaking up weird flavors.
Keep Flour Fresh
Storing flour long-term is accomplished by placing it in a cool, dry, dark location without fluctuations in temperature—the cooler the storage area, the better.
How long does flour last? White all-purpose flour stores three to six months at room temperature.
Vacuum Seal Flour
I haven’t focused too much on vacuum sealing because I’m going for full-blown apocalypse food. I want emergency food to last as long as possible.
That said, vacuum sealing is a reliable method of increasing white flour shelf-life without using electricity for storage in the refrigerator or freezer. Great for an off-grid or power-out emergency scenario.
Vacuum seal white flour will store for one to two years.
Vacuum Seal Flour Without Clogging Your Sealer
To vacuum seal flour without clogging the sealer and hoses, put flour in a paper lunch bag before placing it in the Vacuum bag.
Pour flour into a paper lunch bag, fold the bag over, and put on a piece of tape to hold it in place. (Fold over once, don’t roll it). After securing the flour in a paper bag, place it inside the plastic vacuum bag and vacuum seal.
Warning: Only low-fat Foods with a moisture content of 10% or less should be stored with vacuum packing or oxygen free-storage. High moisture content foods can lead to anaerobic bacteria like botulism, a rare but deadly food poisoning.
Is My Flour Bad: 4 Signs
Check the expiration date to get a general idea of how old the flour is. If it’s three or four years beyond the expiration date, I will throw it out.
#1 Flour Stinks
Rancid flour has a distinctive nasty sour smell when oils go rancid. White flour doesn’t usually have any odor so if it has any scent, consider it toast.
#2 Flour is discolored
If flour is discolored, the flour is terrible. Worst case scenario, you might see mold.
#3 Flour is lumpy
If flour is lumpy, it’s sucked up moisture, and moisture is open arms for bacteria. Throw it out.
#4 Flour has Bugs
Does it have tiny black specks: weevils, flour beetles, moths, or moth caterpillars. Are there critters moving around? Bugs don’t necessarily make your flour terrible it’s just not very tasty.
When in doubt, throw it out.
Ready to start storing wheat? Check out the Ready Squirrel article, Storing Wheat to Outlast You.
How Long Does White Flour Last?
White flour will last three to six months stored at room temperature but expect a stale flavor to develop beyond three months. White flours stored in the refrigerator will last one year and can be stored in the freezer for two years.
Factoid: Using old flour in baked goods can affect the taste and quality of the end product; finicky recipes might not turn out well because recipes are based on using fresh flour’s leavening quality.
Best Way To Store Flour For Freshness: Wholewheat
Store freshly ground wheat flour in an airtight container such as a glass canning jar, Ziplock bag, vacuum seal bag, Tupperware, or plastic containers with a tight-fitting lid.
How Long Does Whole Wheat Flour Last?
It’s crazy how short the shelf-life of whole wheat flour is. Fresh fruits and vegetables have a better shelf-life sitting on the countertop than whole wheat flour lasts in a sealed container.
Whole wheat flour has a shelf-life of three days at room temperature, seven days in the fridge, and six months in the freezer. After this, the fats in the whole flour will go rancid.
If you are looking to store a bulk supply of emergency flour in oxygen-free storage, you are better off storing wheat berries and milling flour as you need it or keeping dry pasta. Both have a 30-year shelf life, and commercially processed all-purpose flour has a maximum shelf-life of 10 years. Whole-wheat can’t be safely stored oxygen-free.
How Much Flour To Store?
Wheat in all its forms is the bedrock food of long-term emergency food storage. The figures below are for emergency storage. Consider a scenario where food isn’t available at the grocery store.
The suggested quantity of all-purpose flour per person for a one-year supply is 150 lbs for adults and 75 pounds for children under eight years old.
The volume ratio from wheat to ground flour almost doubles. To conserve space, store grain, not flour.
Chart #1 Pounds Of Wheat Per Adult Per Year
|Number of Adults||Pounds of Wheat For A One Year Supply||Weekly Supply Per Adult|
Chart #2 Wheat Nutrition Chart
|16 g Serving||Hard Red Wheat Berry |
|Hard White Wheat Berry|
|Soft White Wheat Berry|
(pasta, cake, biscuit, cracker pastry flour)
|Soft Red Wheat Berry|
(pasta, cake, biscuit, cracker pastry flour)
|Calories From Fat||3||1.5||3||2|