Flour has a long shelf life, but you need to know how to store it properly. So here’s everything you need to know.
Most flour in your local grocery store is sold in paper bags that allow air and moisture to pass through, significantly shortening its shelf life. Not only that, but brown bugs called “weevils” can get into the flour and make it their home (to the great disgust of the cook and everyone else at the dinner table).
To avoid all this, you should store your flour properly. So we wrote this article to help you figure out how.
Storing Flour at Home
That lovely bag of flour you brought home from the supermarket? What the manufacturer and retailer aren’t telling you is that there may already be pests in it. To kill them, leave it in its original packaging, put it in the freezer, then keep it there for a week.
Keeping flour in the freezer:
If you wish (and have the freezer space for it), you can store your flour in the freezer, where it will remain edible forever, but will only keep its best quality for up to 2 years.
Since flour is dry and powdery, you don’t have to thaw it after taking it out of the freezer. With that said, it’s a good idea to let it come to room temperature by leaving it out for 15 to 30 minutes.
Keeping flour in the fridge:
To store flour in the fridge, pour it from the original package into a lidded jar or plastic container with the lid shut, then place it in any compartment of the fridge. Refrigerated flour stays fresh for 1 year before it goes stale.
The key to making this storage method work well for you is to close the jar or container tightly—as a matter of fact, as tightly as you can. The refrigerator is a humid storage environment, and if you leave the lid ajar, moisture will be drawn in, causing the flour to clump.
Keeping flour in the pantry:
Put the flour in a sealed glass jar or airtight food storage container and store it in a cool and dark place such as your pantry or in a dark cabinet, where it will stay fresh for 1 year.
No matter what container you store your flour in, always make sure it’s airtight. When you store flour at room temperature, you risk exposing it to moisture and pests if it isn’t.
Avoid exposing the flour to direct sunlight and heat sources. In other words, the windowsill, a countertop near the stove, or on top of the fridge or freezer are not good places to store flour.
Choosing the Right Container
Avoid storing flour in its original packaging, especially if it’s sold in a paper bag rather than a resealable plastic pouch. Paper bags permeate air and moisture, and so clumps will form in the flour and it will go stale quicker.
Instead, transfer the flour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid or an airtight food storage container, then store it using your preferred method (whether that’s in a cool and dry place such as a dark cupboard or the pantry, in the fridge, or in the freezer).
Flour can also be stored in a large ziplock bag. However, a glass jar or plastic container is much better because it is sturdier and has a shape for the flour to fill.
You can vacuum-pack flour for long-term storage of several years. To do this, place the unopened flour bag in the vacuum packer and seal it. Don’t pour the flour into the vacuum bag, otherwise it will get sucked up by the appliance and damaged.