How to Store Flour Long Term: Methods & Tips

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By Bryan Rucker •  6 min read

Flour is the core ingredient in almost all baked goods, plus a useful ingredient for hundreds of other recipes and food items. It’s a staple product, which means it has a place in survival shelters, long-term storage closets, and the checklist for any true prepper.

But flour can and does go bad, especially if you don’t store it properly. Today, let’s break down how you can store flour long-term using a variety of methods. With the right setup, you can store flour for 10 years or even indefinitely.

How Does Flour Go Bad?

Like many other common foods and ingredients, flour can go bad for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

Each of these potential issues can ruin your flour storage plan and cause you to have to buy more flour later down the road.


Can You Store Flour for “Long-Term” Periods?

Yes, although what constitutes “long-term” varies from person to person. Generally, the longer you plan to store any type of food, the more drastic preservation methods you have to use. It’s not that hard to keep flour fresh and usable for a few months. It’s a much harder effort to keep flour usable for several years or even over a decade.

That said, there are several methods you can employ depending on:


Airtight Container Storage

Firstly, you can try storing flour in airtight containers. Such a storage method will keep your flour fresh for between six and 10 months. Remove any flour you purchase and put it in an airtight container, then seal the flour and put it in a cold, dry place. Note that this method does not protect your flour from insect eggs that may already be in the stuff.

Appropriate airtight containers include vacuum sealer containers, mason jars, and similar containers.


Vacuum Sealing Flour

Next, you can vacuum seal your flour, which will keep it good for between one and two years if done appropriately. When you vacuum seal flour, you suck up all the air in the packaging to prevent oxidation. This will also prevent new insects from entering the flour, though it does not necessarily kill insect eggs that may already be within the flour material.

Vacuum sealing makes your flour last longer, but it doesn’t prevent air and humidity from affecting the flour over longer time spans.


Freezing Flour

Alternatively, you can freeze flour by sticking it in your freezer. Place it in an airtight container and set it in a freezer for 48 hours. By the end of that timeframe, the flour will be completely frozen solid. Just be sure that the freezer is connected to a reliable energy source so it never stops keeping things cool.

Things get tricky when you try to take the flour out and use it. To use frozen flour, you have to remove it from the freezer and allow it to warm up to room temperature. This can sometimes cause your flour to get damp. To fix this, you’ll have to spread the flour out on a baking sheet and heat it in an oven for an hour or so at temperatures around 200°F.

Frozen flour can be kept good indefinitely.


Storing Flour with Oxygen Absorbers

For a more intense flour storage solution, you can store your flour in jars, plastic containers, or other storage receptacles with oxygen absorbers. These are tiny packets of iron and sometimes other materials that trap oxygen molecules. Thus, any oxygen in the flour container is absorbed to prevent oxidation. This also prevents any tiny insect eggs from hatching.

In many cases, it may be wise to combine some of the above storage methods with oxygen absorber packets. For example, using an airtight container with an oxygen absorber packet will prevent your flour from going bad through most common causes. When you use oxygen absorbers properly, your flour should be good for five years or even longer.

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Mylar Bag Flour Storage

Lastly, you can use mylar bags to store your flour for 10 years or longer. Mylar bags are moisture and oxygen-resistant, metal-like bags that oftentimes come with oxygen absorbers. When you put flour in these bags, light, oxygen, and moisture can’t get inside. This protects your flour from insect eggs, oxidation, mold growth, and any other possible issue.

Mylar bag flour storage with oxygen absorbers could be the best choice if you have whole wheat flour. Despite this flour’s vulnerability to going bad, properly prepared mylar bags should keep it good for 10 years at a minimum.

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Summary

As you can see, there are lots of ways to store flour long-term. It all depends on your goals, how long you need the flour to be good for, and your available materials.

If you are prepping a shelter or trying to store lots of flour for future use, it’s a good idea to go pick up some of the containers and oxygen absorbers mentioned above. If you’re planning for indefinite storage, freezing your flour is the only way to go – but keep in mind that you do have to prepare it for use after thawing it from frozen storage.

Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things wildlife. His concern grew astronomically during the previous tensions between the United States and other nations. He also has grown a substantial interest in survival and sustainability due to the current shape of the world over the years. He believes that preparation triumphs all things.