The pantry is probably the first place you visit before baking. You no doubt think it’s the safest location for storing your ingredients, but experts claim this isn’t always the case. One staple pantry ingredient is often stored incorrectly and is at risk of going rancid and causing health issues.
Keep reading to learn which ingredient this is and how to store it properly.
Whole Grain Flour
It’s recommended to keep flour in a cool, dark, and dry place. Most people purchase whole grain flour in a large bag, place it in their pantry, and use it when cooking or baking, thus complying with standard recommendations. Do you see anything wrong with the process? We didn’t either! But experts say whole grain flour shouldn’t be stored like this.
White flour “likes” being stored in your pantry and can last for about a year, but this isn’t the case with whole grain flour. Even if it’s kept in an airtight container, whole grain flour can only last for about one to three months in your pantry.
Why is there such a drastic difference between the two flours? Because of the manufacturing process. Production of whole grain flour includes breaking the bran’s protective layer and exposing parts of the grain to oxygen. Plus, this flour contains the germ and bran of the grains. These ingredients are rich in nutrients, but they also add oils that are prone to spoilage.
How to Store Whole Grain Flour
We’ve learned that whole grain flour shouldn’t be stored in the pantry. But what is the right way to keep it, then?
First, transfer the flour from the bag to an airtight container. Sure, paper bags are cute and traditional, but they aren’t very good at protecting your flour. Water, air, and temperature changes can jeopardize its quality and cause it to go rancid. We recommend putting the flour in glass jars with tight lids. The glass doesn’t interfere with the flour’s natural taste, and it’s easy to wash.
Now, take the jar and place it in your fridge or freezer. Yes, you read that right! Whole grain flour should be kept at really low temperatures to slow down the oxidizing process and oil degradation. If you place it in the fridge, the flour should last for about six months. By putting the flour in your freezer, you could use it for up to a year.
Whether you decide to store the flour in the fridge or freezer, keep in mind that you should bring it to room temperature before using it. Naturally, refrigerated flour can return to room temperature a lot faster, so consider this when storing it.
How to Determine Whether Whole Grain Flour Is Spoiled
Due to improper flour storage, many people got used to its rancid flavor. You may wonder what’s wrong with rancid flour if you’ve never experienced side effects. Rancid flour not only lacks vitamins but can also contain potentially toxic and cancerogenic compounds.
That’s why you should train your nose to recognize rancid flour. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
- Sour smell
- Moisture in the container
- The smell of oil paint (linseed oil is also the basis of oil paints and oxidizes fast)
- The use-by date.
Even if the flour is within the use-by date, always check for signs of spoilage, especially if you kept it in the pantry.
Be Careful About Storing Whole Grain Flour
The advantage of using whole grain flour is that it’s minimally processed. But as you can see, it comes at a price: a shorter shelf-life. Buy only the amounts you need and store it in an airtight container. To ensure it’s fresh and healthy, keep it in your fridge or freezer.