How long does flour last? 

In this brief guide we will address the question, “How long does flour last?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like where should you store flour and how to tell if flour has gone bad. 

How long does flour last? 

Flour lasts typically for a year in the pantry to 2 years in the refrigerator. For all those who thought it can last for an indefinite amount of time, here is your answer. Some people also argue that it is best for 8 months. 

Flour does not spoil easily because of the absence of moisture in it. The time period before going bad for each type of flour is also the same. Pretty much all types of white flour last for a year. However, for those of you paleo lovers, almond flour and coconut flour do not last long and spoil within a period of 3-6 months.

Where should you store flour? 

You should always store flour in a cool, dry, and dark place. Doing so will maximize the shelf life of your flour and prevent it from going bad. Here are some key indicators of a good storage place that you need to keep in mind when handling such food products. 

It should be cold

Because we usually purchase flour in bulk, and do not have large enough refrigerators to store it, we usually store flour in the pantry. However, the best place to store flour for long term usage is actually the freezer or the fridge. 

So if you do have that option, make sure you put it there. This storage method is best for places with hotter climate conditions. Leaving it in the pantry in a hot, humid environment will promote the growth of bacteria. There is also a risk that your flour will also absorb moisture. Moisture is simply a no go for such products.

It should be dark 

Since light has the ability to generate heat, therefore it should always be avoided. Moreover, light also facilitates the oxidation process, to which flour is highly susceptible. So if you are storing it in the fridge or the freezer, a dark place is automatically maintained. 

Yes! Fridge is a dark place. 

A dark place can also be an opaque container of some sort. In this way, you can actually prevent your flour from exposure to unnecessary light. Then you can store this container in the coolest part of your house. This will ensure maximum shelf life of flour.

It should be airtight

This is the key! Atmospheric oxygen does indeed cause the oxidation process, and storing flour in a container that does not allow easy flow of the air is a must. The bags that flour comes in are a great option until you open them. Because once they are opened, you can not efficiently seal them again. 

Therefore, putting the flour in large sealable bags is the best way to go. You can also use large airtight containers. 

Note that these pointers should be implemented all at once to prolong and maintain the shelf life of flour. 

How to tell if flour has gone bad?

Flour doesn’t usually go bad, and there are only limited factors that can aid in this process. Key concerns with flour include the entry of insects or water/moisture. If moisture goes into the powder, it will cause the flour to make clumps. If you see such clumps in your flour, it is time to discard it and get a new batch.

Flour also attracts flour bugs. These are tiny black ant-like bugs that give the flour a very bad taste. This is a very common problem when you don’t handle flour properly. Personally, I recommend not throwing this type of flour. You can get rid of these bugs by leaving the flour out in the sunlight. This is a traditional and effective method that helps to get rid of the bugs. These bugs can also be filtered with the help of a typical flour strainer that will allow the flour to go down at the bottom, but prevent the bugs.

Even if the flour is bug free and seems okay, give it a sniff. If the smell of the flour is rancid, you should throw it away. This is because flour does eventually deteriorate with time. So you should always watch for these signs when it comes to handling flour.

Conclusion

In this brief guide we have addressed the question, “How long does flour last?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like where should you store flour and how to tell if flour has gone bad. 

References

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a32018422/does-flour-go-bad/
https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-flour-go-bad/
https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/does-flour-expire-and-what-happens-if-i-use-it-after-it-does
https://www.allrecipes.com/article/how-to-store-flour/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.