Can flour go bad? If yu call yourself a cook, you need to know whether flour can go bad, how long does it last, or how to tell if flour is bad. Those are the most important information about this component that you should be aware of. When you’ll have them all, your flour won’t ever go bad, because you’ll store it properly and use it before it can deteriorate.
How long does flour last?
Firstly, every package of flour should have a “Sell By" or “Use By" date on it. That’s a raw estimate of how long the contents of that package of flour should be of best quality. Sometimes those estimates are pretty accurate, sometimes not. In fact, I can give you some estimates, so you’ll know how long that package of flour should last.
First thing you should know (I bet you’re well aware of that) is that there are many kinds of flour. Fortunately for use, most of them are very similar to one another and you can assume that most kinds of flour will last for about a year, when they are properly stored. There is, however, one exception of that rule – whole wheat flour. It contains more oil than other kinds of flour, so it starts to lose its quality earlier and in most cases it should last half a year, plus maybe a month or two.
Image used under Creative Commons from Ryan McDonough
Now a few pieces of information about storing flour. When it comes to whole wheat flour, it should be stored in the fridge. Other kinds of flour can be safely stored in the pantry. As long as the package is unopened, the paper bag containing the flour is sufficient for storing flour for a long time. Once you’ll open that bag, make sure it’s tightly closed when you put it back to storage. If you plan to store an opened package of flour, you might consider transferring its contents into more reliable packaging. Sealable cereal container is a great idea, but you can use any container that can be closed tightly and you’ll be able to comfortably transfer flour from it to where it should go. Make sure no moisture can reach the flour. If any water reaches it, chances are most of the package will go bad pretty quickly and in most cases you’ll have to discard the whole package.
Can flour expire or go bad? How to tell if flour is bad?
As you should know by now, flour can both expire and go bad. Time causes that the flour deteriorates, so if you won’t use it within reasonable period of time, it might spoil, or it’ll simply become of low quality and you won’t be satisfied with your cooking using that flour. If any moisture or other substances reach flour, they might cause that it’ll go bad.
When it comes to flour, there is one more issue, so-called flour bugs. If you’ll notice any small bugs in the package of flour, discard it. If it’s bug free, smell it. If it has developed an odd odor, discard it. One reminder – it the flour’s package wasn’t sealed tightly, flour might have absorbed odors of other products, so it now smells a little different than usually. That doesn’t mean that it’s spoiled – it doesn’t smell spoiled and it was stored in conditions that allowed other odors to get into the package, in most cases it’s just fine.
Hopefully you know that the answer to the main question of this article: “can flour go bad" is affirmative. Flour does spoil and it can expire as well. If you’ll store it properly, you should have enough time to use contents of the package you’ve just bought.