How Long Does Whole Wheat Flour Last? Find Out!

Last Updated on June 3, 2022 by

How Long Does Whole Wheat Flour Last? Whole wheat flour, renowned for its nutty taste and hailed for its health advantages, is an essential item for any well-stocked kitchen. It helps increase the nutritional content of bread, muffins, and waffles. Whole wheat flour is often purchased with good intentions, but it is sometimes left in the back of the cabinet, only to be found months later. How long can whole wheat flour be stored? 

Whole wheat flour has a shelf life of one to three months at room temperature, six months in the refrigerator, and twelve months in the freezer. Proper storage requires an airtight container and a cool, dry environment.

Factors That Impact The Shelf Life Of Whole Wheat Flour

Whole grain flours, especially whole wheat flour, have a substantially shorter shelf life than all-purpose white flour. White flour lacks both wheat germ and bran, found in whole wheat flour.

Because the germ and bran in whole wheat flour increase its oil content, it is more susceptible to spoiling. Exposure to moving air, heat, light, and moisture speeds up the spoiling process. This makes appropriate storage of whole wheat flour essential for increasing its shelf life. 

Why Whole-Grain Wheat Flours Should Go In The Freezer

Freezing your whole grain flours significantly reduces their spoilage rate and protects them from insect invasion. You are essentially pausing the production of flour. If you don’t have a place in your freezer, you may alternatively keep your flours in the refrigerator. Keep the flour in an airtight container, such as a Mason jar or a large freezer bag with a zip-top closure.

It’s smart to keep whole-grain flour in the freezer, even if you always use your flour stockpile. You have no idea how long these flours have stayed in the store’s containers. 

You can tell if your flour has gone rancid if it begins to smell like old frying oil. Using this flour in your cooking is not “bad” per se (eating little amounts of rancid food usually does not get you sick), but your baked items will not be delicious.

What Is The Best Way To Store Whole Wheat Flour?

It may be tempting to store an opened packet of whole wheat flour in its original box during kitchen cleanup. However, science indicates differently. Because flowing air oxidizes the oil in entire wheat flour, causing it to grow rancid, whole wheat flour must be stored in an airtight container. This may be as easy as placing the opened product in a plastic freezer bag that can be sealed.

Choose an airtight storage container made of plastic, glass, ceramic, or stainless steel for a more durable reusable choice. After selecting an airtight container for your whole wheat flour, you must choose where to keep it. Because heat and light can degrade flour, pick an excellent dark location. If you have the capacity, the freezer is a good location for storing whole wheat flour and will increase its shelf life.

Due to its chilly, dark atmosphere, the refrigerator is the second-best location to keep it. If none of these places works, place the container of whole wheat flour in a dark corner of the pantry or a seldom-used cabinet.

Mark the sell-by or expiry date on the new container if you trash the previous packing so you don’t lose track of how long you’ve had the product. Additionally, if you acquire a new box of whole wheat flour before emptying your container, you should avoid combining the old and new flours since doing so will reduce the shelf life of the new flour.

How Long Does Whole Wheat Flour Last?

The shelf life of whole wheat flour is less than that of white flour. While white flour only includes the starchy endosperm, whole wheat flour contains all the grain’s components. This is the germ, endosperm, and bran, making them more susceptible to spoilage due to the high oil content of the bran and germ.

Unopened packages of whole wheat flour may be stored for one to three months in a cool, dry pantry with less risk of harm from humidity. Refrigerating or freezing flour is not entirely essential since it is primarily dry. You may keep it at room temperature in your pantry without the need for further chilling. Ensuring the packages are correctly packed is the easiest method to avoid refrigerating or freezing flour. 

Additionally, you may predict the quantity of flour you need daily and buy appropriately. Whole wheat flour can spoil if exposed to germs that thrive in warm temperatures and unsealed packaging. Therefore, after the flour package has been opened, ensure that it has a zip lock. If not, move it to an airtight container or keep it at room temperature.

You should not worry too much about keeping track of the anticipated shelf life of your flour since it has a manufacturing date, best buy’ or ‘use-by date on its labels. Using the information on the labels is an excellent approach to ensure that you are not ingesting spoiled flour.

How To Tell If Whole Wheat Flour Is Bad?

When a package of whole wheat flour has gone bad, the flour’s texture, flavor, and odor will undergo many changes. It will also seem discolored. A flour that has gone bad will feel lumpy. This is due to the flour’s response to bacteria, which promotes mold formation.

Your flour is likely to include colonies of black spots, a telltale indicator of mold. Remove promptly if any are seen. Consuming stale flour will not always result in significant sickness. However, if the molds that grow in your flour release hazardous substances like mycotoxins, you may have symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

On the other hand, prolonged intake of poor-quality flour may induce cancer and liver illness. Bad flour will also have a sour flavor and a rancid odor. Taking a little sample of your flour can reveal whether or not it has gone bad. Food waste is an important issue that we must address, so make sure you store your flour properly so you don’t throw it away.

Dangers Of Using Stale Flour

When the flour turns stale, its molecular structure changes, leading to the formation of hazardous chemicals. However, no recent research has shown any negative consequences of rancid flour. Although cooked dishes produced with it may have a disagreeable flavor, little quantities are unlikely to be harmful to your health.

On the other hand, moldy flour may be both hazardous and unpleasant. While not all molds are toxic, some may create mycotoxins, toxic compounds. These substances may cause symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Depending on the quantity consumed and length of exposure, mycotoxins are also associated with other significant diseases, such as cancer and liver disease. Thus, it is always advisable to discard flour with a foul odor or mold growth.

How To Store Flour 

The most convenient method for storing flour is to take it from its paper bag and put it in an airtight container made of plastic or glass—even a plastic bag with a zipper works. The rationale for removing it from the original paper is that moisture is the worst enemy of flour. And the paper will absorb atmospheric moisture. The flour may be protected from moisture using a plastic or glass container.

In an ideal scenario, you should purchase the amount of flour you need and intend to utilize it quickly. However, no one lives in a perfect world, particularly today. When a trip to the grocery shop is as stressful as it is today, it may be prudent to purchase more than necessary to avoid making further excursions. It would help if you tried refrigerating the flour in an airtight container in this scenario.

Is It Better to Store Flour in Glass or Plastic?

The most essential quality of a storage container is its airtightness. Glass and plastic are your most excellent material options. Personal preference is the deciding factor in determining which option is superior.

Plastic containers are lightweight and break-resistant. However, you should always ensure that the plastic is robust and BPA-free. Glass containers, on the other hand, should be handled with more care due to their fragility. They are heavier as well. However, many individuals prefer glass containers over plastic ones since they are more aesthetically pleasing and may be kept on display if necessary. If you want the best of both worlds, use a high-quality plastic container that resembles glass.

A flour storage container must be constructed of sealed, high-quality materials. However, if you are searching for the ideal container for keeping flour, there are a few other characteristics to consider.

Conclusion on How Long Does Whole Wheat Flour Last?

Whole wheat flour has a shelf life  ranging from one month to a year, depending on its use. Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping flour in an airtight container at the lowest temperature possible. Put your nose to the test if you’re unsure if your whole wheat flour is still usable. A fast smell test will tell whether or not the flour is ruined. We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of how long wheat flour lasts and how to store flour.