Storing Flour Long Term: How to Store Flour For Prepping

June 23, 2023 7 min read

flour spilling from long term storage

Learning how to store flour for the long term is a vital survival skill. Whether you've spent many years on Earth or just a few, you'll understand the importance of flour in our diets. Even those following gluten-free diets rely on various non-wheat flour substitutes.

Many people don't struggle with how to use flour; it's easy to bake bread, make pancakes and waffles. The real challenge lies in figuring out how to store flour for the long term, ensuring it remains fresh and usable.

Continue reading if you've been wondering, "How long can I store flour?" We'll explore the importance of flour, the right conditions for storing flour for an extended period, and practical methods to preserve your flour.

 

The Necessity of Storing Flour Long Term

Flour is an essential addition to any well-equipped prepper pantry and family home food storage because it is versatile and affordable. Flour is used in a wide array of cooking and baking recipes.  

For example, you can use flour to bake bread and cakes, make homemade pasta, and batter food for frying. You can also use flour to thicken soups, stews, and gravies. But flour isn’t only used in the kitchen. Flour can also be used for non-food-related tasks

Three Key Factors Why Flour Spoils

Like other dry foods, flour can spoil if not stored in the right conditions. The three most prominent obstacles to overcome when storing flour for the long term are insects, mold, and oxidation.

  • Flour bugs, otherwise known as flour worms, pantry weevils, or wheat bugs, are tiny beetles that feed on the dried food in your pantry. 

  • Mold and fungus can form if the flour is exposed to moisture, humidity, or extreme temperature fluctuations. 

  • Oxidation occurs when too much oxygen gets into the flour, causing the flour’s nutrients  to break down prematurely.

There are many different ways to store flour. Below we will discuss some options, and in time, you will develop your personal preferences. However, regardless of the method you use, it must be focused on protecting the flour from insect infestation, mold, and oxidation.


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    Determining If Your Flour Has Spoiled

    If you suspect your flour has gone bad, the easiest way to check is by looking at the expiration date on the packaging. However, if you repackaged your flour into different containers, you may not have the original date. In that case, here are some other red flags for spoiled flour: 

    • The presence of mold or lumps in the flour, 

    • The presence of an insect infestation, 

    • Inconsistent color or texture, 

    • Sour, musty, moldy, or bitter aromas.

    It’s a good habit to start smelling and looking at your flour when you bring it home from the store, so you can know what it’s supposed to smell like. Then, if it goes bad, you can tell the difference.

    Consequences of Consuming Spoiled Flour

    Bugs in spoiled long term flour storage

    The good news is, most times, ingesting spoiled flour doesn’t have significant consequences. If anything, your baked goods just won’t taste as good. However, if the flour is severely spoiled, it may contain large amounts of mycotoxins.

    Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by certain types of mold. If ingested, they can make you sick. Luckily, mycotoxins don’t sneak their way into your food.

    Any flour that contains mycotoxins will have a strong, pungent smell, and it will be obvious that you should not use the flour for cooking or baking.   

    Understanding How Long You Can Store Flour

    If left by itself, flour is one of the foods with the longest shelf life. However, there are storage strategies you can use to make your flour last even longer. 

    Airtight Containers

    Refrigerator

    Freezer

    Mylar Bags w/ Oxygen Absorbers

    Refined White Flour

    1 year

    1 year

    2 years

    10+ years

    Whole Wheat Flour

    3–6 months

    6–8 months

    2 years

    5+ years

     

    As you can see, refined white flour has a longer shelf life than whole wheat flour, regardless of the preservation tactic. Why is that? 

    Whole wheat flours have not been refined or processed. Therefore, whole wheat flours contain the grain’s bran and germ, which are rich in fiber, nutrients, and oils.

    However, it’s precisely the extra fibers, nutrients, and oils that spoil whole wheat faster than refined white flour, especially when exposed to too much light, moisture, or oxygen.   

    Effective Ways for Storing Flour Long Term

    infographic on how to store flour long term

     There are multiple ways of storing flour for the long term. Your choice will depend on your budget, available materials, and space.

    Airtight Containers

    Most often, using airtight containers is the go-to choice. Airtight containers extend the lifespan of dried foods like flour by slowing the oxidation process and preventing insects from getting into the flour and hatching eggs.  

    Plus, airtight containers are convenient. Most of us already have a selection of airtight containers to store our dried goods. It’s simple and easy to transfer store-bought flour from its original packaging into airtight containers.

    An obvious fallback of airtight containers is that most of them are not opaque. Therefore, your stored food can be exposed to natural sunlight and UV radiation, which can shorten the food's shelf life. 

    Using the Refrigerator or Freezer

    We understand that using the refrigerator or freezer to store flour is strange. For most people, flour is a pantry item, not a refrigerator item. However, storing flour in the fridge or freezer totally works.

    The main advantage of storing flour in the refrigerator or freezer is its consistent, cold temperature. This mitigates the buildup of mold and extends the shelf life of food. Refrigerators and freezers also shield food items like flour from unnecessary sunlight. 

    The drawback to storing flour in the refrigerator or freezer is that you lose space for other food items that require cold conditions more than flour, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. However, if you have space to spare, or an icebox in the garage, by all means, keep your flour towards the back and watch it thrive. 

    The Hurdles of Storing Flour in DIY Packaging

    One of the most effective methods for storing flour long-term is with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. By transferring store-bought flour from its original packaging into mylar bags and inserting oxygen absorbers, you can extend the shelf life of flour by over a decade.

    Compared to keeping flour in your pantry in its original packaging, that’s very impressive. However, there are some disadvantages to storing flour this way. 

    The Disadvantages of Storing Flour in DIY Packaging

    Repackaging store-bought flour into food-grade mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is the most effective way to extend the shelf life of flour. But unfortunately, the process comes with some unavoidable obstacles.

    1. Requires additional materials and equipment. To repackage your flour, you must purchase mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and special equipment for sealing the bags.

    2. Very time intensive. Storing flour in DIY packaging is very time intensive—not to mention it can be very messy. 

    3. Small mistakes can spoil the entire batch. Unfortunately, any small mistake throughout the process, like forgetting an oxygen absorber, not sealing the bag properly, or introducing bacteria, can prematurely spoil your flour.  

    The Benefits of Relying on Professionally Packaged Emergency Food

    While a good food storage plan will include a variety of preservation methods, it's essential to also consider professionally packaged emergency food.

    A robust food storage plan will contain a variety of foods and utilize a selection of food preservation tactics. Storing flour in DIY packaging, canning fruits, creating a root cellar, and using long-term food storage containers to store staples are just a few examples. 

    However, adequate food storage should not only include food items that you have bought, grown, packaged, or re-packaged yourself; it should also include professionally packaged emergency food. 

    Professionally prepared and packaged emergency freeze-dried or dehydrated food has many advantages. Let’s talk about some of the most important. 

    175 Serving Long Term Food Kit From Valley Food Storage

    175 Serving Long Term Food Kit

    The Valley Food Storage Long-Term Emergency Food Kit puts quality first. Packed with a wide variety of hearty and wholesome breakfasts, entrees, and essential proteins, this Kit will fuel you with high-quality calories to keep you alert and energized when you need it most. ✔︎ Simple Ingredients✔︎ Non-GMO✔︎ Easy To Prepare✔︎...
    Risk_Reduction

    Incredibly Long Shelf Life

    The shelf-life of professionally prepared and packaged emergency foods is shockingly impressive. For example, our freeze-dried and dehydrated food can last over 25 years.

    Investing in food with that length of shelf life is like investing in food insurance: You pay upfront now so that you can have peace of mind later.  

    Professionally Packaged Using High-Tech Processes

    The commercial freeze-drying and dehydrating process utilizes special machinery and proven methods that preserve food with its original flavor, texture, and, most importantly, nutritional value. 

    Trying to mimic the processes we have mastered would become exorbitantly expensive and time-consuming. Sometimes, it’s best to let the pros do it.  

    Affordable When You Buy in Bulk

    Paying attention to on-sale items at your grocery store and collecting coupons for bulk purchases is exhausting. Instead, you can invest in bulk amounts of freeze-dried and dehydrated food with a “one-stop-shop” experience. 

    Whether you are purchasing food buckets for your family or food for a bug-out bag, you can save money by buying in bulk. 

    Highly Nutritious and Wholesome Ingredients

    Our freeze-drying and dehydrated methods seal in the nutritional value of our food. That means that our food has the same nutritional value 15 years later as it did when we originally bought, cooked, and packaged it for you.

    Comes in a Variety of Options to Prevent Food Fatigue

    Eating the same thing repeatedly during an emergency scenario is tiresome and debilitating to your morale. That’s why avoiding food fatigue is so important in a survival situation. 

    Nobody likes eating the same thing every day during everyday life. So why would they enjoy it during an emergency? We are proud of the variety of menu items we offer to help you avoid food fatigue and consume a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
     
    Bread being made from stored flour

    Final Thoughts on Storing Flour for the Long-Term

    Flour is an essential cooking and baking ingredient. Plus, you can use it for many helpful non-food-related tasks. Therefore, flour is one of the most important staple food items any well-equipped prepper pantry should include.

    Luckily, by itself, flour has a remarkable shelf life. But you can use other methods to lengthen the shelf life, such as storing flour in airtight containers, freezing it, or repackaging flour into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

    Regardless of how you keep flour for the long-term, remember that you can also invest in food insurance and give yourself peace of mind with professionally prepared and packaged freeze-dried and dehydrated emergency foods.

    We hope you found this article helpful and interesting. For more informative articles like this one, visit our Practical Prepper Blog. To connect with other preppers, we recommend joining our Facebook Group. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of your product experts.