Vacuum-Sealed Flour In Its Original Packaging
Terri from California sent me an email with a good question… “Have any of you ever vacuum-sealed flour but left it in its original bag, then sealed? Most people I know put the flour in a paper bag or some other bag. Thanks! Terri”
A follow up message indicated that she started sealing the flour in its original packaging because it just seemed best to her.
She also wondered about it because she’s on a limited income – while knowing that Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers cost more.
She’s thinking about buying more flour at today’s prices, rather than pay more (or lots more) later on, given the inflationary environment.
I told her what we do. Two things…
Vacuum Sealed Flour In Original Packaging
We do have a number of the typical 5-lb bags (or is it 4 pounds now?) of grocery store-bought flour.
We vacuum seal them in their original paper bag packaging using our vacuum sealer machine and gallon size bags.
I figure they’ll still taste alright for maybe around 2 years that way. We have not had a problem. I do know that in time, the taste of milled flour will go “off”. Obviously lots sooner without sealing it up – which keeps the oxygen away.
I keep the multiple 5 pound vacuum-sealed bags of flour inside a plastic storage bin with its lid secured (pictured above). Knock on wood, we don’t have a mouse problem. But otherwise, they may find that flour! Between the vacuum sealed bags and the bin itself, they probably would not smell it anyway…
[ Read: Things You Can Seal With A Vacuum Sealer Machine ]
Buckets of wheat berries for long term storage
I told her the other thing we do is keep a number of 5 gallon buckets of wheat berries. The wheat berries are sealed in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers (2,000 cc).
This will last many decades without issue. Since the wheat berries are not milled to flour yet, it will last WAY LONGER.
Plus the Mylar and O2 absorbers of course…
[ Read: Oxygen Absorbers For 5-Gallon Buckets ]
Regardless of your method of keeping flour, the storage conditions are very important.
As I’ve written about many times, optimum conditions are cool, dark, dry.
[ Read: 4 Things That Affect Food Storage ]
How do you store flour?
So the reason I’m posting this is for your own input and personal experience. This will help Terri and others who may eventually read this. It’s a good topic for a blog post.
With regards to store-bought flour, how do you store it?
Specific types of containers?
Do you vacuum seal any of it?
Have you ever had any issues storing flour for a long time? What were they?
How long until you noticed any “off” flavor?
I had some plain organic flour wrapped in a plastic grocery bags stacked in the pantry. After 5 years it was still good with no off flavor. My personal opinion is organic flour will last longer, just like organic milk has a longer use by date than non organic milk. The pantry is fairly temp stable and is of course dark 99% of the time too. Any flour will be better than none should shtf.
We have stored flour in the original package, no vac seal, inside a plastic tote for several years. The taste is fine but it does not rise like it should without adding yeast or baking powder.
I agree with car guy. While I’ve done the mylar bags sometimes, I’ve also just done the no seal, in a plastic tote storage. It’s been there for a few years, and there is no “off” taste. It’s fine for things that don’t need to rise much, but I prefer fresher flour for baking bread.
I have stored flour and cornmeal vacuumed sealed in quart canning jars for years with no “off” taste and the lack of oxygen prevents weevils. Also store rice, beans, peas, grits, garden seeds and other dry goods this way and they last for many years.
Romeo Charlie, Self-rising flour loses its rising ability over time. See Ken’s article for more info.
i have had good luck dry canning my flour and yellow and white cornmeal.
i put it in the freezer at -15 degrees for 2 weeks, take it out for a few days then and dry can it in the oven.
dry canning can be tricky so be aware and check out some u-tube vids. on it before you try it. broken jars are not uncommon.
everything has to be dry, dry, dry before you start.
We buy store flour in 25# bags and keep 3 , 25# bags in a galvanized garbage can on a piece of wood on a cement floor. Basement temperature is about 55 degrees. We keep what we call our daily use 5 gallon bucket in the pantry next to the kitchen. One 5 gallon bucket holds one bag of flour. We put the flour from the garbage can , to a week in the freezer then into the daily use bucket. We have been happy with this system for some time and have not had any issues with the flour.
I don’t use much flour in the summer as it just gets to hot to bake much in my opinion. I buy 25 pound bags at Costco for about 8 dollars if I remember right. In the winter when I bake more I generally grind my own and mix about 2 cups of ground to 1 cup of store bought per loaf. Never have had a problem with the store bought going bad in the year or so it lasts
Néw to this part- but so far I have sealed flour with bay leaves and some Food grade DE powder (I have some in the food saver bags and some in Mylar) have not open from last year yet as I still have stash of the regular 5lb bags of flour in large plastic bags with a few bay leaves thrown into bag- that’s how I store it inhouse pantry for rest of year use(so far that’s not been a problem for <2 years due to turnover)
The bag of whole wheat flour stays refrigerated in its original paper state
It’s still good after 1 year as of last week
Since food savers vacuum device small- perhaps you can borrow it from a friend for a weekend and vacuum seal your stuff then or split costs for bags ( Mylar or vacuum seal ) with a like minded friend
Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips. I will try storing some 5 lbs bags in vacuum Mylar storage bags. I do have a few #10 of corn meal and a few flour cans also…but not enough!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!
I store my “ready” flour in 5-gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids. We haven’t had any issues, so far. These buckets are in our garage. We also discovered 10-gallon containers with screw-on o-ring lids at the feed store. These are food grade, and are used for horse vitamin supplements. We keep our dry beans, rice, and deep larder flour in these. They hold around 100lbs of beans or rice, or about 50lbs of flour. The beans and rice are kept in the garage with the “ready” flour. The deep larder flour is kept in an insulated storage room in the barn, as it’s the most temperature-stable storage area on the property.
I use vacuum-sealer bags to store ANYTHING in the pantry that is prone to bug infestation. This includes any pasta, which I seal in its original packaging. You need to keep an eye on the packages as they seal, as if you let them evacuate too much, you’ll crush the pasta. Pantry items in smaller amounts such as batter mixes are kept in Mason jars. I use canning lids and the Mason jar adapter on the vacuum sealer. Since this isn’t true canning, you can get away with re-using the lids several times, and they don’t leak down!
Tom, This may be a silly question – but when you vacuum seal pasta in the original packaging, do you cut a small slit to let the air out of the original packaging to make sure there is no air left with the pasta? Thanks.
wife and i have experimented with used lids, only for what we considered short term storage in the fridge.
so far they have worked well, kept their seal but i’m not ready to try it on long term storage in the pantry.
i may try it this fall on a few jars of extra veggies and see how it works. i do save my old lids, just in case.
There’s a post somewhere around here where this was discussed. I reuse my lids as a matter of course. They have to be undamaged, seal intact, rim not bent. If the lid has a “popper” it needs to be up. If it’s stuck in the down position, don’t reuse the lid for anything that needs to stay sealed.
First use, meat and meat products. If the seal is still good I’ll continue to reuse. Then water bath, then juices, jams, the kind of thing that are put in the jars hot and not otherwise processed. When the lid is bent or damaged I put it in a non-canning pile and use for plant labels or dry pack.
My success with reusing old lids is better than with new lids.
The post that Lauren was referencing is the following:
Can I Reuse My Canning Lids?
I have used my sealer for handguns and rifles ( loaded and in a case or a scabbard) time tested a file and handgun for seven years, the guns, cases/ scabbard and ammo were like the day I put them in the sealable bags, test fired no problems. A very good way to go.
I had flour stored since 2012, I’ve packed some in paper bags in a Food Saver plastic bag (2013) and some in a vacuum-sealed Mason jar (2012) and the flour stored in paper with plastic bag went rancid but not the flour stored in Mason jar.
Yes, 2012!! We made bread with it and it’s fine.
Thanks. Thank is what i was thinking. But i think ill seal mine up in brown paperbag inside the jar for light issue as my basement isnt dark but have window light voming in.
Maybe I have lived a sheltered life. Why is it that the only time I have ever heard the term “wheat berries” used was by preppers on a prepper site? What is wrong with calling them “wheat kernels” or “wheat grain,” something the rest of the world seems to do. The fact is that calling grains of wheat “berries” evokes a mental image of something red or purple and juicy, something that wheat grain never is. Just sayin’.
It’s their proper name. People call them other things, because they do not know the proper name. In certain circumstances, I might answer to “Hey, you!”, but that doesn’t make it what you should call me.
– Papa S.
I have heard vaccum sealing or throwing oxygen absorbers in with whole wheat flour, or fresh ground flour, is a bad idea as this kind of flour has too much moisture and it can create botulism inside the bag. Can anyone confirm this officially?