I am currently working on a food storage plan for my family. I absolutely love King Arthur Flour and want to include it in my storage. Can anyone tell me what the shelf life is of the various flours? Thank you, Donna
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DONNA N REED:
Good day Donna. Generally speaking most flour millers have a shelf life date of approx 18, months when shipped out. So that would depend on how long the flour bags are on your supermarkets shelf. Of course Donna you like most of us always look for that date when we buy our groceries. I think a 5 pound bag of flour you would use in about 18 months time I am sure. I might add place same in your freezer. It will last longer than 18 months.
Good luck to you & enjoy the rest of the day my friend.
Various state university Extension services are good sources of food storage information.
If you check out this page from North Dakota's agricultural extension you can check the shelf, freezer and refrigerator life of many foods.
States like Utah have excellent extension service information on inventory, calculating storage requirements, and efficient storage.
Anything that's NOT whole grain (e.g., bread flour, AP, Italian-style flour, cake flour, etc.) should be good on the counter for up to a year. If bugs are a problem in your kitchen, stick a bay leaf in each canister of flour; it discourages them.
For whole grain flours (whole wheat, rye, the various multi-grain flours), we suggest immediate freezer storage, where flour will stay good for up to a year, depending on how fresh the flour was when you bought it; and whether or not you have a non-self-defrosting freezer. For self-defrosting freezers, you can cut that back by a few months; the constant warming/cooling cycle doesn't help keep flour fresh.
Thanks for your enthusiasm for our flours!
"White Flours" (i.e. All-Purpose, Bread, Pastry, Cake, etc) will store longer at room temperature than Whole Wheat Flours.
Generally, we recommend a shelf-life of 9-12 months, but it's not uncommon for flour to remain usable after those dates.
If you are looking into long-term storage, we suggest freezing your flours. Kept frozen, these flours will keep indefinitely.
If you are unable to freeze the flours, try to keep them in a cool, dry place.
If you decide to use the freezer for flour storage, please use plastic bags to cover your bags. Get as much air out as possible too. The plastic bag creates a barrier, so the flour does not pick up any unwanted odors. Guess how I know this? Happy Baking M
How would you KNOW if the flour is no longer usable if the shelf life has expired? Would it make you sick or just not make the recipe taste good?
Old flour smells different than fresh flour. Baking with it won't hurt you (unless it has picked up some pathogens, but I've never heard of that happening to wheat flour), but it may have an 'off' flavor and might not bake up as well.
The bigger risk to me seems to be that it may get bug-infested. Sealing it well (and freezing it for a few days first) seems to help.