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By April 1, 2012 Read More →

Prepping on a Shoestring: Storing Flour

Storing flour in your Year's Supply

Storing Flour

In a long-term crisis situation, there are certain food staples that every prepper needs to have on hand.  Among these is flour, or grains to grind into flour, as needed.

In an ideal situation, whole grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc., are stored in 5-gallon buckets, using Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.  Whole grains have an extended shelf life of greater than 20 years when stored in this fashion.

Once the grains are ground into flour, however, the shelf life significantly shortens.  Ideally, the well-prepared home is equipped with a grain mill, whether manual or electric, to produce flour on demand.

Grain mills are wonderful tools.  However, both electric and manual can easily cost hundreds of dollars, putting them well out of range for many “Shoestring” Preppers.

Those of modest means are often not able to afford “an ideal situation”, and must think creatively.  Without a grain mill, for example, it becomes necessary to store flour itself.

According to Shelf Life Advice, a five pound bag of all-purpose flour will stay fresh 6-8 months in your pantry, 6-12 months in the refrigerator, and up to two years in the freezer.  That’s not a long time, when compared with the shelf life of whole grains.

Thinking creatively, and with the use an affordable vacuum sealer such as the FoodSaver,  the Shoestring Prepper can extend the shelf life of flour by as much as three years.  Here’s how.

1.  Purchase your flour of choice in five pound bags.  Bulk flour may save you a few pennies a pound, but keeping the flour in the original packaging will assure an excellent seal on the vacuum bag.  Also, be aware that whole wheat flour, no matter how it is stored, has a reduced shelf life, due to the oils that remain in the product after it is ground.

2.  Place the entire package of flour into a one gallon vacuum sealer bag, or a 12″ length cut from a roll (with one end sealed) and use the vacuum/seal function.  This will remove air from between the grains of flour, seal the bag and provide a brick-like result.  Date the package.

3.  Place the sealed bags in the freezer for at least one week.  I usually go two weeks, just in case.  This will kill any insects or their eggs/larvae which might have come home from the store with you!

4.  At the end of that time, remove the sealed bags to a dry area for at least four days to allow any accumulated moisture to evaporate.

5.  Vacuum sealed bags of flour can be stored in plastic totes.  Households with rodent issues may opt for five gallon buckets or metal containers.  A Shoestring Prepper without allergies might just get a cat to deal with the rodents!

When opening the bags, you will find the flour tightly compressed.  It is suggested that you use a sifter or a fine mesh strainer to loosen it for use.



Posted in: Food Storage

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17 Comments on "Prepping on a Shoestring: Storing Flour"

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  1. Dave says:

    How long will it last like this?

  2. I store many things in wide mouth quart jars using my vacuum sealer attachment. This not only allows me to afford purchasing items for storage on my limited budget, but it is also a way for me to store quart jars for canning for the future.
    This morning, I put up 6 quarts of rice, 3 quarts of rolled oats, and 3 quarts of sugar.
    I try to do 12 quarts every payday, not always do I manage it, but I do try.

  3. I store many things in wide mouth quart jars using my vacuum sealer attachment. This not only allows me to afford purchasing items for storage on my limited budget, but it is also a way for me to store quart jars for canning for the future.
    This morning, I put up 6 quarts of rice, 3 quarts of rolled oats, and 3 quarts of sugar.
    I try to do 12 quarts every payday, not always do I manage it, but I do try.

  4. I store many things in wide mouth quart jars using my vacuum sealer attachment. This not only allows me to afford purchasing items for storage on my limited budget, but it is also a way for me to store quart jars for canning for the future.
    This morning, I put up 6 quarts of rice, 3 quarts of rolled oats, and 3 quarts of sugar.
    I try to do 12 quarts every payday, not always do I manage it, but I do try.

  5. I buy 50lb bags, freeze the bag for two weeks to kill the weeples, and then break the bag up into 5lbs contanures for storage

  6. I buy 50lb bags, freeze the bag for two weeks to kill the weeples, and then break the bag up into 5lbs contanures for storage

  7. Dale says:

    Could you use the oxygen absorbers with the sealed bags or the canning jars ? would either of these give more shelf life. can you do the dry canning with any dry product, like lets say spices or coffee…cause with coffee when it is on sale I buy a bunch but in the container it shelf life is about a year, it would be nice if I could make it longer shelf life, if I could I would buy even more on sale…
    Thanks Dale

  8. Could you use the oxygen absorbers with the sealed bags or the canning jars ? would either of these give more shelf life. can you do the dry canning with any dry product, like lets say spices or coffee…cause with coffee when it is on sale I buy a bunch but in the container it shelf life is about a year, it would be nice if I could make it longer shelf life, if I could I would buy even more on sale…
    Thanks Dale

  9. Brian Kelsey says:

    I never use mylar bags and never have problems. They seem like a waste of money to me. I use five gallon buckets with lids that have a gasket on them to keep air out and I use oxygen absorbers, nothing more. Of course, we cook everything from scratch all the time so our bulk foods are always being rotated.

  10. sorry but but on the 4th step , do I remove the flour from the vacuum sealed bag ? or are you saying once removed from the freezer place the flour still vacuum sealed in a cool dry place ?    thanks

  11. I have a vacuum sealer but was wondering if using mylar bags w/a O2 absorber would give me longer shelf life as far as dry good . Does ANYONE know ?   thanks 

  12. I too like to break it down to smaller parts, it enables me to only have small parts open at a time as well and the quart jars are great for this.