Flour is considered a shelf-stable food and is a very common part of long-term food storage for many homesteaders. However, if not stored properly, your flour will only have a 6 month shelf life! Here's exactly how to store flour long term so that your food supply can remain secure.
If you've been here before, you probably know two things about us: We love our einkorn flour recipes, and we strive to have a stable food supply all year long. As a result, it's only natural that we would want to have a large amount of einkorn flour on hand.
Regardless of what type of flour you and your family use, it's important to know how to properly store it, or you will end up losing part of your food supply!
Since we don't like to waste food or money around here, I'm going to show you exactly how to store your flour in a way that will allow you to enjoy it for years to come.
Basics of Storing Flour Long Term
The steps for ensuring that your flour is safe and usable for any future needs is actually quite simple. Here is the overview of how to store flour long term, and then we will get into the details.
- Freeze - The process of freezing your flour will ensure that any bug eggs in the flour or the packaging (that can then transfer to the flour) are killed before going into storage.
- Seal - After freezing, then bringing the flour back to room temperature, it's time to seal it. We will talk about the different options for sealing later, but it's important to store your flour in an air-tight container.
- Store - Your flour is now ready to store! Pick a cool dry place, like the pantry, a closet, or even a well conditioned attic space in which to store your containers. Avoid warm and damp places like garages, as this can cause issues, even within air-tight containers.
Does Flour Really Go Bad?
You may be thinking that storing flour like this is pointless, I mean, it's flour right? Does flour even go bad? Yes!
Just like any food, flour can go bad when exposed to moisture, oxygen, or insects. Just leaving your flour in the bags on the pantry shelf is not a long term solution, as several things can cause the flour to go bad in that state.
- Mold - Depending on your climate and the humidity in your house, flour can actually grow mold. If you think this may have happened, do a smell test on the flour as you should be able to smell any mold, even if you can't see it.
- Absorbing smells - Flour is absorbent and can take on the smell (and taste) of something nearby if not stored properly. This can lead to baked goods that taste "off" due to the contaminated flour.
- Oxidation - Just like any food, oxidation can occur in flour over time if not placed in an air tight container. Ground flour is particularly susceptible, while whole wheat berries fair better.
- Insects - If not treated properly beforehand, flour stored in an air tight container can still end up with bugs! This is due to the fact that flour bags, and the flour itself often already contains microscopic insect eggs when you bring it home. Gross, yes, but thankfully there is an easy fix!
Storing Flour Long Term VIDEO
Watch Victoria process through hundreds of pounds of einkorn flour and see how easy it is to make sure your flour is secure! If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe to our Youtube Channel.
What You Need
While there are a lot of different opinions about what is best, there are really only a few basic things you need to store your flour safely.
- Flour - You can use all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or even the wheat berries (unground) for this process.
- Freezer - You'll need some freezer space to be able to ensure that any bug eggs are killed before storing.
- Air-tight container - This can be mylar bags, 5 gallon buckets, glass jars, and so on... it simply needs to be a non-porous, air-tight container.
- Oxygen absorbers - There is some debate around this item, many say it is crucial, but in our tests it was not. The flour we froze and stored without these was just as fresh as the flour we froze at the same time and stored WITH one. I tend to stay on the side of sustainability and saving money, and I don't use these personally.
- Heat sealer or iron - If you are using mylar bags, you will also need a way to heat seal them. We use an iron, but we also have this heat sealer, which works well.
Best Containers for Storing Flour
There are several different options for storing your flour safely, depending on how quickly you plan to use it. Below is a breakdown of each container type, along with how long each will allow the flour to last when done properly.
- Glass - Mason jars or other glass containers with air-tight lids are a common option for storing flour for the short term. This method, when the flour is prepped properly, will keep the flour in a good state for about 1 year.
- Plastic buckets - You can get food grade buckets and use them without mylar bags, just make sure they are clean before you add the pre-frozen flour to the buckets. This, along with an air-tight lid will keep flour good for up to 5 years.
- Mylar bags inside plastic buckets - This is the best combination of storage options to keep the flour good for up to 10 years. Freeze the flour, bring it back to room temperature. Then place the mylar bag into the bucket, and fill with flour. Seal the mylar with a heat sealer or an iron, and then add the air tight lid.
How to Store Flour Long Term
Here are the step by step instructions for prepping and storing your flour to make sure that it will be in good condition for at least 10 years. Use this method for all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and wheat berries.
- Freeze - Put any flour in the freezer for at least 24 hours (I prefer 72)
- Thaw - Remove bags and let it come to room temp overnight
- Prep - Place a 5 gal mylar bag into a clean 5 gallon bucket (I get mine from Home Depot)
- Fill - Fill the bags with 20 pounds of flour
- Seal - Use an iron and wooden board to seal the very top edge of the bag, leaving the last 3" open. Push out any air and seal the rest of the bag.
- Close - Put the lid on securely, and store in a cool dry place.
Common Questions about Storing Flour
Yes! Some people say that you can just add an oxygen absorber and that will kill any bug eggs, but in my personal experience that is not enough. Don't risk your food supply, freeze the flour first!
Once you're ready to open one of the 5 gallon bags, simply remove the lid and then cut open the mylar bag at the very top. Remove the flour that you want to have on hand (we use one of these containers for every day use) and then reseal the mylar bag and the bucket.
I wouldn't recommend it. I've seen rats chew through the buckets and into the mylar bags in a garage setting. Instead, store the buckets in a cool dry place in your home. You can store it in closets, under beds, or even in a well maintained attic.
Even More Food Preservation Ideas
Keep your pantry full with these food storage ideas. Make sure that you and your family have enough to eat with the information in these next posts!
How to Store Flour Long Term
- 1 5 gallon bucket
- 1 5 gallon mylar bag
- 1 iron or heat sealer
- 20 pounds flour
- Put any flour in the freezer for at least 24 hours (I prefer 72)
- Remove bags and let it come to room temp overnight
- Place a 5 gal mylar bag into a clean 5 gallon bucket (I get mine from Home Depot)
- Fill the bags with 20 pounds of flour
- Use an iron and wooden board to seal the very top edge of the bag, leaving the last 3" open.
- Push out any air and seal the rest of the bag.
- Put the lid on securely, and store in a cool dry place.