When it comes to preparing for economic collapse, job loss & natural disasters, we are taught to store food those hard times.
Let’s face it, with all the information out there on how to store your food, it can get mighty confusing. Flour seems to be controversial as to how long it is *safe* to store. After much research, I put together a list of facts I have found on many different types of flours. Remember to do a basic test of any staples before using them. Observe and smell. If either test fails, then be safe and toss it out.
All Purpose Flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat. As one of the most commonly used flours in America, it can be bleached or unbleached. Chemically treated flour is labeled bleached and flour that is allowed to age naturally is considered unbleached.
Shelf life: If properly sealed or wrapped, all-purpose flour should last safely on your shelf for 10-15 months. If refrigerated, then up to 24 months. I found reports of people who have used it well beyond this (but not too many) and that is up to you. Heat and moisture accelerate staleness, so store in a cool, dry place. When weather is hot and humid outside, store it in your freezer.
Bread Flour is made from hard, high protein wheat. It is unbleached and conditioned with ascorbic acid. This creates better texture and increases volume. Bread flour is used primarily with yeast products.
Shelf Life: If properly sealed or wrapped in an air tight container bread flour can last 6 months on the shelf or up to a year in the freezer.
Self-Rising Flour does not need salt or leavening agents added because they are already added by the manufacturer. It is sometimes referred to as phosphate flour and is primarily used for biscuits, quick breads and fried chicken.
Shelf life: If properly sealed or wrapped the all-purpose flour should last safely on your shelf for 10-15 months. If refrigerated, then up to 24 months. You can make your own self-rising flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and a half teaspoon of salt to one cup of All Purpose Flour.
Instant Flour is wheat flour in which barley flour has been added. Its purpose is to dissolve quickly and is primarily used in sauces and gravies. It can also be used for making pie crusts and recipes calling for cake flour. However, it is not the same as all-purpose flour. It is lower in protein. If you have a recipe that calls for instant flour and you cannot find it, many cooks will substitute with cake or pastry flour.
Shelf life: Properly sealed instant flour has a shelf like of 6-8 months on the shelf and a year or so in a freezer.
Cake Flour is white flour that is fine textured and should always be sifted before measure as it has a tendency to clump after being on the shelf too long. It is 5-7% protein being the lowest protein flour on the market. When using a cake/pastry, muffin, quick bread or cookie recipe that has more sugar than flour, this is a good flour to use because it is less likely to collapse. If you cannot find this flour in your area then you can substitute all-purpose flour by removing 2-3 tablespoons of flour per cup used in the recipe.
Shelf life: see notes below.
Pastry Flour is not intended to make bread with, but is used to make a flaky biscuit, pastry, cookies, pie crust and quick breads. It has between 7% and 9% protein. This flour is hard to find in super markets but can be found online and in bakery shops. I have heard it is possible to make it yourself using a 2:1 ratio of all-purpose flour (2) to cake flour (1), but I have not tried this.
Shelf Life: see notes below.
Rice Flour is flour made from finely milled white or brown rice.
Shelf life: White rice (Known as white flour) shelf life, if stored properly can be stored indefinitely. Brown rice flour on the other, has a shelf life in the refrigerator of about 5-6 months and in the freezer it can last up to a year. Brown rice has a higher oil level in it because of the bran and germ in it which causes it to go rancid if not stored properly.
Whole Wheat Flour is made from the whole kernel of wheat. The shelf life is considerably shorter than that of white flour due to the presence of wheat germ, resulting in an unsaturated oil. This causes a higher potential for rancidity if not stored correctly. Wheat flour should be stored in a tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Shelf Life: If stored on the shelf, 3 months. If stored in the freezer, 6 months.
Gluten Flour is milled from spring wheat and is primarily used for diabetic recipes. These flours are also for people who can’t eat wheat flours or anything made with wheat. These flours can affect a recipe’s cooking time, flavor, and texture.
Shelf Life: In the freezer up to one year. On the shelf, about 6 months and check for rancidity.
Buckwheat Flour is a gluten-free flour as well. It has a great nutty flavor and is easy to work with. It is used for anyone who has gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Shelf Life: 3-6 months on the shelf and up to one year in the freezer.
Spelt Flour is a wheat based flour that is very popular and widely used among people who have wheat allergies but are okay to use gluten. Spelt has a nutty/sweet flavor that is among favorites for many who bake bread.
Shelf Life: 3-6 months in the pantry if properly sealed. 6-12 months if stored in your freezer.
White Flour also known as white rice flour is the flour that can be stored for 10 years or longer and what most preppers store in their long-term storage. White flour is made by stripping wheat of everything useful and then using chemicals to bleach the color out of the flour. Important medical facts you need to know about white flour.
Shelf life: Indefinitely if stored properly in air tight container.
Flour must be kept in a cool, dry place. All flours have a limited shelf life. The main changes that occur is the oxidation of the oils in the flour which can cause the flour to become stale or rancid. If your flour is stored in a cool, dry place it prevents the flour from absorbing moisture. To kill any bugs/eggs, place your flour in the freezer for 48 hours. If possible, to extend the shelf life, keep the flour in the freezer when you’re not using it.
Store your flour in an air tight container. This can mean Tupperware, or a plastic freezer bag. Anything to lessen its exposure to air. If you’re storing your flour in a canister or container on the shelf place a bay leaf in with the flour. This will protect against bug infestation. Bay leafs are a natural insect repellent.
Throw away any flour that has a strong odor, smells stale or rancid.
I know there are many more flour choices out there on the market to learn about. I have focused this article on the most popular types used today to help you better understand what each kind is used for and what you might think about adding to your food storage. Feel free to leave comments in the section below.
Keeping It Spicy,