Flour is a staple in most homes. Even for families who don't spend much time in the kitchen, there is probably a sack of flour tucked in the back of a cabinet somewhere. Although it can last a long time if handled properly, flour is perishable. To get the longest useful life from the flour you buy, these simple suggestions will help you contain and store your flour better, and offer some recommendations on how to keep flour safe from pests.
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Buy only as much flour as you will be able to use in six months. All flour contains some oil, and flour suppliers suggest that you keep flour for less than half a year because after that time, the oil in the flour is likely to go rancid. This is the degradation of the oil due to oxidation and results in flour with an old, sour taste.
Freeze flour for a short time after purchasing. When you buy flour, it may already have minute insect eggs in it. To kill any eggs that might exist, refrigerate your flour for a few days.
Store flour in an airtight container. Keeping moisture out of flour is one way to extend its life and discourage bugs.
Keep flour separate from produce and cleaning supplies. Flour is like a sponge and soaks up the odours around it. If you keep your flour next to your pine cleaner, it will smell like pine cleaner. If you keep your flour next to your onions, it will smell like onions. The best way to ensure that your flour stays sweet smelling and fresh is to keep it in an airtight container away from other contaminating aromas.
Add insect repellent herbs to the area around flour. Weevils and other bugs avoid strong smelling herbs. Adding herbs to the shelf where you store flour can help keep bugs in check. Bay leaf is the most common herb to include with flour.
Keep flour in the refrigerator during hot weather when it can go rancid more quickly.
Freeze the flour. The most effective way to extend the life of flour and ensure that it will retain its flavour and be free of insects is to freeze it.