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Proper Storage Of Flour
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Greetings,

:o I hope you haven't had this experience but I went to use my sorgum flour yesterday and found moths crawling in it. My roomate says that they can hatch in flour. I don't know how they got in there. :blink: My problem is I share the refrigerator with three roomates which means there is no room in the freezer for all my new flours. How can I store them safely without putting them in the freezer? What is the shelf life if it's not rerfrigerated?

Ken Ritter

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I usually store my flour in tightly sealed plastic bags or in a bag in a tupperware dish. They can be stored in the fridge or just a cupboard. If the seals are not tight, than little insects can get in and lay eggs (I know that is gross but it can happen!) I would think that flour should be good for a few months. Someone else may know a more specific time frame though.

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Indian Meal Moths can be a big problem when you have to do so much cooking and baking from scratch. A couple of years ago we had to deal with a terrible infestation. The moths were even in the pepper grinder! Be sure to not let it get out of hand.

My first mistake was thinking that those Pantry Pest traps were of any use. Don't bother. They only catch about 1/8 of the males!!! Still plenty of sperm around for the lady moths. ugh.

Secondly, the exterminator came... three times... also worthless. The caterpillars/eggs/moths were in places that the exterminator never touched.

Thirdly, no caterpillar is going to be in the slightest bit detered by a ziplock bag. You need heavy duty plastic containers with airtight lids.

Fourthly, the darn things don't just get into the flour, they get into rice, chocolate, dried fruit and nuts, spices, baked and packaged goods like cereal and cookies etc.

The moths get into your house through the products you buy at the health food store. They don't use pesticides on the organic stuff and the health food store doesn't use usually use pesticides in the store. The caterpillars crawl through the crevices on cartons and make cocoons in the creases of the corners (like between the plastic liner and the carton of a cereal box). When the moth is formed, there's a ready source of food available and they look for mates and places to lay eggs, with more ready sources of food.

Freezing kills the eggs. Think extra protein. What we had to do was throw just about everything out, and put the rest in the freezer. All new products go either into the freezer or are put into rubbermaid containers as soon as they come into the house. My whole pantry is full of tubs and cereal dispensers and the like. I watch for the "pterodactyls" (which is what we call them) like a hawk. I keep the traps as a monitoring device. If there are a lot of moths in the trap, you can be sure that there's about fifteen more times that flying around in the house. I also watch the corner/edges of where the walls meet the ceilings. New caterpillars tend to crawl up there to make their cocoons. When the exterminator came, he would spray along the wall and ceiling.

Stay vigilant! It's a war! Good luck

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Ah! Those moths would have freaked me out! Its my understanding that certain flours should be stored in the fridge and others are okay--i keep my soy, tapioca, brown rice, potato starch in the fridge b/c they spoil faster than white rice, amarath flour. I think I might keep others in there too, but can't remember right now! Maybe try ziplocks or those airtight plastic containers like Carrie mentioned. If you really have no space to store, you could try and simplify and mix or buy a premade gluten-free flour mixture so you wouldn't have so many different kinds and containers... There are several of those available. If you don't know of any and are interested, I can help you find some.

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Actually, you can't keep them out! Grain products are allowed, by law, to have a certain amount of bugs in it - though generally not of the live variety. ;-) So, under the proper conditions, the eggs in the grain as you buy it will hatch. Whether or not this will happen will vary batch to batch and with storage conditions.

While the suggestion to keep many gluten-free flours in the fridge or freezer primarily stems from the higher fat content of some of them (the fat will go rancid fairly quickly in warm weather), it will also help keep the eggs from hatching. If you can't keep them in the freezer, grab what space you can in the fridge. If you run out of space in the fridge, find a cool, dark place, and keep them sealed as tightly as possible, getting out whatever air of the container that you can. (Definitely keep ground flax meal in the freezer. I would say the same for nut meal - at the very least, in the fridge. The fat content makes it less shelf-stable.)

That, and using it up quickly! :-)

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Yeah, my ground flax is one of the other items I keep in the fridge. Ugh--I have heard about the bug regulation in flour, but to think of little eggs in there is well, bleh! :P

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bugs can freak me out :o

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lol! then do NOT buy organic lettuce! it tends to have bugs - live ones. I'd go into details, but it might scare you away from the computer... ;-)

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Tiffany-

Its funny you mention that, b/c I did buy organic green leaf lettuce once, not in the bag. And all the bugs did gross me out! I was like, "bring on the pesticides!" :lol: I will buy organic prepackaged spinach though, no issues there.

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"i keep my soy, tapioca, brown rice, potato starch in the fridge b/c they spoil faster than white rice, amarath flour."

How do you know if it spoiled? The reason I asked is I'm trying a bread recipe I got off this forum and i'm using some tapioca and patato starch I've stored out of the refrigerater for a few months at least.

ken

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Bugs, just think of them as a little extra protein, lol :D

Merika

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OMG!!!! I would have freaked!!!!

I can remember as a child biting in the corn on the cob and looking down to see the other half of a worm still in the cob (which meant the other half was in my mouth.....) :blink: To this day, I still can't eat corn on the cob.......

Karen

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Karen- AH! That happened to me once--with a Cookie from a bakery! It was unbelieveable! I bit into the cookie, looked down and inside there was a catepillar like bug with a cocoon. Needless to say, we took it back to the bakery. And I tried to cough up the cookie I had eaten!

KenRitter- Go here to see info on flours and storage. I copied storage exerpt below. http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/food...523,303,00.html

Storage

Potato flour, arrowroot, tapioca, water-chestnut flour, white rice flour, and corn flour can be stored at room temperature for 6 to 12 months in a tightly covered container. Any whole-grain flour keeps for less than a month at room temperature, so store it in a tightly covered container in the freezer; it will stay fresh for up to a year. You can use the flour directly from the freezer.

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:lol: Thank you all for your help. I love this site.

Ken

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I've had those lovely moths in flours and corn meal. If you bring any flours home from the store and put them in the freezer for 24 hours, you'll kill any of the little "wormies" that turn into the moths and then they should be fine on the shelf for a while.

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I have bought a case of the Gluten Free Pantry Mixes and I was wondering if anyone has froozen or refrig. these. I have some of the "Old Fashioned Cake and Cookie" mixes and some of the "Country French Bread and Pizza" mixes. I wasn't sure about freezing the yeast in the bread mix. Anyone have any ideas?:)

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kasey's mom-

i keep my gluten-free pantry mixes in my pantry ;)

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Okay, so I'm new to the gluten-free world, HOWEVER, I can offer this advice: Regular flour, if you freeze it for 36 hours, will be just fine on the shelf for a really long time, it's long enough to kill the eggs in the flour. (I stockpile this sort of thing and use it during the holdidays, ie once every 6 mos...useless now...) Also, if you're mormon/know a mormon/related to a mormon, you can take your food, including wheats and what-not, to a canning facility. If you're not mormon you have to pay a nominal fee to use it, but then once whatever it is is canned, it's good for years and years.

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Okay, I'm eating away at my gluten-free spagetti, checking out the topics, reading what's up, clicked on this one and ugh, I got to the part about little worms and I couldn't handle the pasta anymore. :P I guess I should pay attention to what I'm reading when I'm eating, or what I'm eating when I'm reading..HA :lol:

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I keep BAY LEAVES in all my grains, both gluten-free and non-gluten-free. It works. The gluten-free flours I keep in the refrigerator, with a bay leaf or 2 in with them. It inhibits the larvae (which are already there in all grains) from hatching.

I've done this for years and years..as long as I can remember....and.. I live in a warm climate.

Kandee

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