Bulk flour storage?

kitchendetectiveJanuary 12, 2013

If you purchase and store bulk flour and cornmeal, do you freeze it? If so, in what container?

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I don't buy flour and cornmeal in 25 or 50 pounds, but I probably have that much of different types in my freezer. I just put the original bags in 2 gallon Ziploc bags and freeze them. I've heard of other people who store thier's in air tight containers without freezing.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 9:00PM
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We buy King Arthur's all purpose flour in 25 lb bags and store it in a big plastic tub. I don't know if it's airtight or not, but we use it up fairly quickly.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Whe I buy large bags of flour, I first put them in the oven at 130F for a few hours to kill off moth and insect eggs. Then I store them in air tight plastic containers.

If you worry about keeping the flour fresh, you can buy oxygen absorber packets to store them for longer periods. Otherwise it's expensive to store in the freezer.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:35PM
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I buy lots of flours but in no larger than 5 pound bags. That's all I can comfortably sling around. I put them in the freezer until it's their time for the sunshine and then they are emptied into airtight tupperware type storage and kept in a kitchen drawer.

Unfortunately I tend to keep using the ap rather than trying all the different flours I keep. Gotta change my ways. I should mix em up, too.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 1:34AM
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1. Bleached and unbleached flour has a shelf-life of 6-12-months (depending on how old it was when purchased and the temperature of the storage area). You can double that time by freezing it. 'Room temperature' for food storage is considered 70-degrees F. Optimum storage temperature is between 40-60-degrees F. If storage temperature is above 70-degrees F, the shelf-life is going to be less. I suggest buying no more than what you can realistically use in a year. Old flour makes horrible baked goods and is often the reason for failed bread recipes.

2. Keep it stored in an airtight container such as a plastic storage container (check restaurant supply stores for a good selection in lots of sizes) or food-grade storage buckets, not the paper bag it is purchased in. If you are buying flour in 25-pound bags you can re-package it in zip-lock bags in user-friendly amounts and stack those in a large food-grade, air-tight container. Moisture can penetrate the paper bags and the flour will not keep as long when that happens. Keep it as cool as possible and away from light. Food storage enemies: air, heat, moisture and light.

3. Commercial whole wheat flour definitely requires freezing. Freezing will slow down the wheatgerm oil from going rancid but it won't prevent it completely. Those oils begin to degrade withing 3-hours of milling, as do the nutrients. I don't suggest commercial whole wheat flour for long-term storage at all.

4. Cornmeal has an even shorter shelf-life than bleached/unbleached flour - 4-6-months. You can double that amount if you freeze it. Make sure you purchase degermed cornmeal for storage.

SUGGESTION: Because of the short shelf-life for bleached/unbleached flour, in my Food Storage Classes I suggest people purchase it in the fall when it typically goes on sale for holiday baking, which is the time of the year when most people do most of their baking. Use the largest portion of it up by March or April if you don't bake in the hotter months and wait to restock again in the fall.

CAUTION: The one storage method NOT to do with flour is to vacuum-seal it in FoodSaver bags for storage. Flour has enough moisture in it when vacuum-sealed can develop a mildewy smell. Save vacuum-sealing for foods (dry goods) that are 10% moisture or lower. You can, however, vacuum-seal flour in canning jars using a FoodSaver and the jar sealer. The flour will remain free-flowing in the jars, instead of packed tight like it gets in the FoodSaver bags, and this will prevent the flour from getting that mildewy smell. These are the recommendations from FoodSaver.

If you are interested in having flour and cornmeal for longer than the suggested storage life you can opt for purchasing them in hermetically-sealed #10 cans, which is VERY expensive. The best method for long-term storage is to buy whole grains and mill your own flour and cornmeal. Wheat will keep for decades and corn for many years. ...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:37AM
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I love this forum!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:39AM
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We buy ap flour in 25lb sizes. We also have a friend that works in a mega commercial bakery that gives us pounds and pounds of different flours, sugars, chocolate,etc. that would be thrown away. (When the bags/containers fall on the floor of the warehouse during a ride on the fork lift, they have to be thrown away. Even the bags that never touch the floor or break open! Such a waste.) I asked him why the company didn't donate the good stuff to a shelter or food pantry. He said due to insurance concerns the company has to throw it away. Even the good ones. He brings them home and divides them amongst the neighbors. We put the flours in food quality plastic bags and then they go into a plastic tub with locking lid. That gets stored in the pantry. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 9:07AM
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I keep a fairly large number of different flours around since we eat from a food storage program. I buy in different sizes because not all the flours I use come in the same size packaging. At home, I transfer them into one-gallon ZipLock bags and then they go into a 5-gallon bucket with a Gamma lid (see link). Sometimes, depending on type and frequency of use I also use metallized liners for the buckets.


Here is a link that might be useful: Food storage buckets, Gamma lids, & liners

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 10:20AM
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I buy my flour in 10-kg bags. In winter, I put the bag outside on my balcony for a couple of days to freeze any potential buggies in the flour.

The flour is then put in a 5-gallon pail with a snap-tight lid, and kept in my spare room pantry. Sometimes I keep it in the bag, and other times I dump the flour in the pail. My canister on the counter is then re-filled as needed.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 10:24AM
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I forgot that we have bought corn products from Anson Mills. They recommend that these be kept frozen until ready to cook, to prevent the natural oils from going rancid. So we had 50lbs of grits and polenta which kept us supplied for a LONG time! Their grits and polenta are the only ones I like, quite different from the stuff I'd eaten before, but it was a nuisance having this much stored in the freezer.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Keeping bags of flour in the freezer is handy when your freezer is low on food. It helps fill it, so that it runs efficiently.
Since we only have a small chest freezer, it's full of food, so no room for flour.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 10:59AM
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