How to store flour long-term depends on what you are storing it for. The storage methods are different depending on the shelf-life you desire. If you are keeping it around for daily baking an airtight container is sufficient. If, on the other hand, you want to store it long-term Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are the best type of container. Let’s take a look.
Three Methods of Storing Flour
The first way to store flour for a maximum shelf life of 10+ years is with sealed Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. The second method is to purchase flour in #10 cans for a similar shelf-life. The third method is to store all-purpose flour in the store packaging, expecting a shelf life of 6 months, Last, store flour in an airtight container and it will last up to 10 months.
Storing Whole Wheat Flour
Unbleached whole wheat flour will not store long-term or beyond 6 months because it is perishable due to its high oil content Expect a maximum shelf life of 6 to 9 months regardless of how it is stored. Do not store whole wheat flour in Mylar with oxygen absorbers as it is too high in fat. Up next, wheat berries.
Storing Wheat Berries Instead of Flour
Wheat berries are wheat kernels that are milled into flour and they have a shelf-life of 30 years when stored in Mylar with oxygen absorbers. This is how I store flour.
If you want to be a flour storage pro, read on.
How To Store White Flour Short-term
Store 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.
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.
4 Signs Flour is Bad
Check the expiration date to get a general idea of how old the flour is. I will throw it out if it’s three or four years beyond the expiration date.
#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. In the 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 caterpillars? Are there critters moving around? Bugs don’t necessarily make your flour terrible. It’s just not very tasty. Because flour often comes with bugs the only way to kill those eggs and ensure they don’t hatch is by storing flour oxygen-free in Mylar bags or in #10 cans.
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? (bleached all-purpose)
White flour will last three to six months stored at room temperature but expect a stale flavor to develop beyond three months. White flour 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 Wholewheat Flour For Freshness
Store freshly ground wheat flour in an airtight container such as a glass canning jar, Ziplock bag, vacuum seal bag, Tupperware, or plastic container 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 when compared to how long wheat berries last. If you are doing some healthy baking whole wheat flour is great to have but you want to use it up pretty quickly. If you are stockpiling a pantry for a longer shelf life store bleached white flour or wheat berries.
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.
Top Storage Containers for Flour
Airtight Containers (6 to 10-month storage life)
- Rubbermaid Food Storage Containers
- OXO Good Grips
- Progressive ProKeeper
- PrepWorks by Progressive
- Kaloh Stoneware
- Canning Jars
- Vacuum Seal Bags
Freezer storage (indefinite shelf-life)
Flour will last indefinitely in the freezer, that’s forever. If you have room in your freezer and you aren’t worried about a power outage this is a good way to store bulk flour for some heavy baking. If, however, you are storing flour for emergency food this isn’t the best option for long-term storage. Instead store flour or wheat berries in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Up next, how much flour to store.
Chart #1 Shelf Life of Flour By Container Type
|Container Type||Shelf Life|
|Airtight Containers||10 months|
|Vacuum Seal Bags||1 to 2 years|
|Plastic Containers and Glass Jars With Oxygen Absorbers||5+ years|
|Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers||10+ years|
|#10 can||10+ years|
|Dry Canning||Not Recommended|
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 and you are providing for all of your own food.
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.
The volume ratio from wheat to ground flour almost doubles. To conserve space, store grain, not flour.
Chart #2 Pounds Of Wheat Per Adult Per Year
|Number of Adults||Pounds of Wheat For A One-Year Supply||Weekly Supply Per Adult|
Chart #3 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|
Thanks for stopping by Ready Squirrel. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments.
Keep on prepping!
Best Regards, Scott