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Bay Leaves in Flour?

Posted by jasdip (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 23, 11 at 13:05

I have 20 lb bags of flour, unopened and 3 10 lb bags of rice.
I like buying these things on sale, and I make bread, carrot cake, etc.

A friend said I should put bay leaves in them to keep the bugs at bay. I'm overly cautious, probably in opening the bags, putting the bay leaves in and sealing it. My fear is once they are opened they won't last as long, or the critters will get in.

Do you put bay leaves or something similar in your flour and rice when storing? I know some people freeze it, but I have too much too freeze. I keep my whole-wheat flour and quinoa in the freezer though as they are smaller packages.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I would not open a bag of flour to insert bay leaves. However, I would open a bay of flour to pour it into an airtight canister.

I think if you're routinely buying large quantities of grains and flours, it does pay to invest in large food-safe canisters. You can buy them at restaurant supply houses, both physical locations and online. Or bulk suppliers carry foodsafe buckets and canisters of various kinds.

A determined weevil can bore through paper or soft plastic of the sort many kinds of rice come in.

Carol


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I wouldn't open the bags either, but I would put some bay leaves in the immediate area where you store the flours and rice. I keep several bay leaves on each shelf in my pantry, they really do keep the bugs away.


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I agree with Carol, I'd invest in some food safe and airtight containers to keep quantites of such items in.

I do keep bay leaves on the pantry shelves and in canisters container flour/cornmeal/etc., but I don't open sealed bags to put them in there, I wait until I open the bag.

Annie


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

Agree with putting bay leaves on the shelves where ever you have food in unopened bags. My shelves look like I dropped bayleaves and didn't pick them up! I have a bay leave tree that keeps me supplied always.


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I'm also a believer in bay leaves. I have them on the shelves and inside my packages and containers. I haven't had weevils since I started using them. When I moved into my house the previous owner had bay leaves left in the cabinet so I just left them too.


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

Bay leaves have no use to prevent insects in stored food (In NYC area).

Just my experience, having wasted a lot of food and bay leaves.

And BTW, freezing food is not good either. Only baking and air tight containers work.

dcarch


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

There is no scientific proof that bay leaves prevent contamination by insects, according to the Utah State University Cooperative Extension. Utah State University is a leading expert resource for Home Food Storage. They say, "...bay leaves only work because there wasn't any presence of an infestation to begin with".

I took an Extension class on "Pantry Pests" years ago and the entomologists who gave the class also said bay leave were an old wives tail without any scientific varification. Place bay leaves in the same category of other things people have claimed work to prevent an infestation -- chewing gum, 10-penny nails, and salt, and an assortment of incantations.

Store your flour in an air-tight container. You can find large plastic food storage containers at restaurant supply stores with tight-fitting lids.

Oxygen-free storage is an even better method because it ACTUALLY prevents "pests" because both the eggs and the bugs can't thrive without oxygen. Therefore, vacuum-sealing your flour in canning jars using a FoodSaver and a jar attachment will assure your dry goods remain bug-free, plus the oxygen-free storage will extend the storage life. Bleached and unbleached commercial flour has a very poor shelf-life - 6- to 12-months. Old flour can often be the reason for poor-quality baked goods and failed yeast breads.

Don't vacuum-seal flour in FoodSaver bags. According to FoodSaver, there is enough moisture in flour when packed tightly in a FoodSaver bag it can develop a mildew taste and smell. If you vacuum-seal flour in jars (as recommended by FoodSaver) it will remain free-flowing - which is necessary to prevent the mildew forming.

I store well over a thousand pounds of grains/seeds/beans - all in oxygen-free storage - and I've never had an infestation in all the years I've stored them.

Pet food is a common contributor to infestations, so store pet food well away from your kitchen.

-Grainlady


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

maybe it's not scientifically verified but that doesn't mean that bay leaves don't work! I know from experience and years in my own kitchen that if I don't put them in my flour, I'll get weevils but I've never had a single weevil with the bay leaves. So scientifically proven or not, I'm sticking with the bay leaves. There are many many things that WORK that are not proven by some scientific trials.


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

One thing I forgot to mention in the other thread Jasdip is that many bakeries will sell the food-safe pails for a reasonable price.

Seal that stuff up. If you have it tight, you don't need bay leaves whether it's doing any good or not. Anecdotal or not, sometimes it puts ones mind at ease.


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I have the messiest "grains drawer"...in it I keep working bags of flour ( I buy it in 5 pound bags) rice, several kinds of pasta, sugar, corn meal and corn starch....
Well you get the idea, and the bottom of that drawer gets well littered with flour, corm meal stray grains of rice and a few shells, some fusilli and occasionally bits of orzo.
I had big problems with flour bugs, weevels and pantry moths....until someone told me about bay leaves.
There are about 20 bay leaves in that drawer along with the flour....and I haven't had any pantry bugs in years.
I can't see how it could work either....but it really does.
Linda C


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

Keeping in mind this is not to dispute those of you who have found bay leaves effective. It may all depend on your weather, food, etc. and what kind of insects are native to your geographic area.

The kind of insects we have here in NYC area will eat everything; dried mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, kitchen towels, rice, bread crumbs, ------- they expecially enjoy eating bay leaves.

dcarch


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

When I lived 12 miles from New York city....it worked....
And frankly I have never seen a bug chewed bay leaf....nor know any deer or rabbit to munch on a daffodil flower.
Wonder what kind of bugs you have? Try putting some bait bay leaves in a drawer with some flour and see what it draws.

Bay leaves have long been known as a natural insect repellent.
Linda c

Here is a link that might be useful: Baykeaves as insect repellent.


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

Years ago someone brought me bags of wild bird seed that had broken open and the store was getting rid of them. I lived in an apartment then and didn't have outside storage for the seed. I stored them in my utility closet and I got infested with seed moths. I got rid of all the seed, cleaned everything out and could not get rid of the moths. I used so many of those pantry moth catchers just to keep the level down, but every time I thought they were gone, I would find them in my kitchen cabinets. They got in my pasta boxes, burrowed into bags of rice, the list is endless. They love nuts, by the way.

I read about the bay leaves and tried them. No more in the cabinets, but I did see them flying about once in awhile. When I moved a year ago, every box I packed I put in 3-4 bay leaves. Got here, unpacked, and haven't had another moth. I still keep leaves on my pantry shelves, just in case. They work.

Claire


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

"Posted by lindac "When I lived 12 miles from New York city....it worked....
And frankly I have never seen a bug chewed bay leaf....nor know any deer or rabbit to munch on a daffodil flower. Wonder what kind of bugs you have? Try putting some bait bay leaves in a drawer with some flour and see what it draws. Bay leaves have long been known as a natural insect repellent.
Linda c
Here is a link that might be useful: Baykeaves as insect repellent."

OTOH, here is the other study

http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/pdf/CIS/CIS0850.pdf

I don�t doubt that you had no problems using bay leaves when you were in NY area. I believe the infestations now, like many other insects, are recent new bugs imported from outside of this continent.

Amongst many things, it was disgusting and surprising to see all my efforts which went into making sun dried tomatoes with 100 lbs of beautiful home-grown heirloom, completely infested with moths, and the several layer of bay leaves all hewed up.

These moths are interesting, there are not attracted by my UV insect zapper like other moths. Again freezing will not kill the eggs off. The only way is to bake all packaged food and store than in air tight containers.

If not bay leaves, may be moth balls would keep them at bay? :-)

dcarch


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I think we know the kinds of insects that may attack your stored foods.....which, in case you didn't bother to copy and paste, is what the link Archie posted showed.
The point is, bay leaves contain a substance that is repellent to insects. That fact verified by many and for many years.
Likely pyrethrins and things like biphenerthrin etc are more effective. But I much prefer to use les toxic alternatives.
To the OP...I don't think I'd open the bags but once theywere open I would toss a few bay leaves in. And sprinkle bay leaves around the area...

Here is a link that might be useful: natural insect repellents


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I certainly have seen insects happily chewing on my culinary bay shrub, so there are some bugs which don't find anything in bay leaves to be a hindrance to consumption.

However, it's whatever works for each person.

130 degrees for 30 minutes in the oven will kill weevils in flour or -1 degrees in the freezer for 5 hours. It takes a lot of cold to kill these bugs.

But I still think airtight food storage containers are the best most foolproof option for long-term purposes. Practically speaking, if you bring home product which is infested and put it in a sealed airtight container, 1) the infestation won't spread and 2) if bugs do hatch out in the food, they crawl to the surface and die for lack of air. An ugly image, but better than having them travel from bag to bag chewing up everything in sight.

Carol


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

Posted by lindac "I think we know the kinds of insects that may attack your stored foods.....which, in case you didn't bother to copy and paste, is what the link Archie posted showed.
The point is, bay leaves contain a substance that is repellent to insects. That fact verified by many and for many years. ----"

I am a little bit confused as the point you are trying to make.

I have state very specifically that bay leaves have no effectiveness against the kind of moth(s) which have been infesting NY area and my food storage.

I have never claimed that bay leaf is a useless insect repellent for any insect.

I am saying that I have not experienced bay leaf is effective against ALL INSECTS. Also, the link I gave states the following:

"From the University of Idaho it states, "Homeowners have used bay leaves, spearmint and peppermint gum, and other scented items to repel grain insects, with the claim of many years of insect free storage. The authors [of this article] have not experienced good results from these repellents in controlled test situations. Therefore, we do not recommend reliance upon them."

BTW, who is Archie?

dcarch


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RE: Bay Leaves in Flour?

I've got one of the bags in the freezer now. I do have some 5-gallon pails with lids, that I'll put the flour into. The pails originally are from a wine-making store and had powder in, but I've used them for other uses, and I'll wash them out with water and javex prior to putting the flour in.


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