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How long would white flour last?

Hi y’all. I live in a country where it costs a ton to get cool prepping stuff (like oxygen absorbers and vacuum sealed bags and such) so I’m trying to think through extending the shelf life of white flour using what I have. Let’s say I fill a food-grade bucket and lid with 5-pound bags of flour, each sealed inside a gallon ziplock bag and then closed the bucket with the lid and kept it at room temperature out of direct sunlight. The expiration date of the flour is 6 months from its production date, but how long do you reckon it’d last in the situation I just described? Thanks!

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  • Comments (10)

    • 1

      I’ve always heard that white flour has a 6 month shelf life as well, by cutting off air you may get a couple months more out of it. 

      We’ve had white flour stored in our freezer for over a year and it still is perfect. The cold probably stops the oils in the flour from going rancid.

      • 1

        Thanks, Bradical. Good to know your perspective: a few months but don’t count on long-term storage.

    • 2

      Best way to have wheat flour long term is to store the wheat berries, and then grind them into flour when needed.  Wheat berries can store for 25+ years.

      You have access to wheat berries?

      • 2

        We do, but the quality is sometimes off (I have to do a manual search for small stones that occasionally appear). I’ve gotten lazy and had just been resorting to already-ground flour. For long-term though, you’re right, Redneck. I need to get back on the wheat berry bandwagon.

      • 1

        Redneck is right that wheat berries are the way to go for 1-25 year storage. Some options with that, Costco big bag and then mylar bag them yourself with moisture absorbers for extra long storage, many people here buy off of Azure Standard, or you can buy precanned wheat berries that require no work from somewhere like the LDS church cannery.

        Question to you Redneck, how long would a large 50lb bag of wheat berries from Costco last without any preservation techniques applied? Just throwing the bag in the cupboard and forgetting.

      • 2

        I can’t answer for certain.  If you Google it, you get all sorts of answers.  I brought in many 40lb Emergency Essential buckets of wheat that I bought online on Walmart & got free freight.  It was actually a steal back then, with the free freight.  Emergency Essentials packages the berries in food grade plastic pails with gasket seal and use Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.  Here is a current pic but they have been out of stock a long time.

        wheat

      • 1

        They still have these available with free shipping. Not quite the steal as the 40 lb bucket you got, but still available…

        https://www.walmart.com/ip/Augason-Farms-Hard-White-Wheat-Emergency-Food-Storage-4-Gallon-Pail/22001478

      • 2

        I’ve never been a fan of Augason Farms stored foods.  From my recollection, they don’t use oxygen absorbers or desiccants and I don’t think they use Mylar bags either.  Yet they still say 30 year shelf life, so what do I know?

      • 4

        I agree wheat berries are the way to go, but have a functional electric and non-electric way to grind them, and practice using them before you need them — they’ll be different than what you are use to getting from the store. 

        I’d argue that wheat, stored in a relatively dry, cool, dark, protected space will last 30+ years. 

    • 4

      White flour, which is less nutritional, will last the longest.

      As we know, the threats to our long term food storage are: light, heat, humidity, bugs/pests. So —like you basically said—if you store the flour in Mylar (best case scenario), inside plastic buckets, that are kept in a cool, dark place it’ll maximize it’s storage time.

      You’ll know if flour goes bad, it’ll smell musty/rancid. If it still smells neutral, then it’s fine. You may get weevils in it, but they won’t hurt you and can easily be sifted out if you need to use it. If your flour is old—say 3-5+ years—but has been stored well and still looks and smells good it’s useable. It may not work as well for bread, or other items that have to rise. Our plan, in that eventuality, is to use it to make tortillas (or other unleavened baked goods). 

      And, as always, rotate your flour. If you use it and replace it you’ll ensure it stays as fresh as possible. And I know this is a pain in the ass, we all want preps we can just store away “just in case” lol.