Rancid Flour, Anyone? 4 Ways to Keep Whole Grain Flour Fresh

Perhaps you've decided that this year, you want to eat more whole grains. Even better, perhaps you've decided you want to start soaking your grains so your body can absorb more of the good stuff they contain.

Maybe, on a recent trip to the grocery store, you bought some whole wheat flour. Then you came home and put it in your pantry. And there it sits. And sits. And sits.

Did you know that as your flour sits there, it loses nutritional content day by day and turns rancid? Rancid. Rancid means fat gone bad. Whole grain flour goes rancid because it still contains the germ and bran, which is where the oils of the wheat berry reside. So it doesn't just get stale. It gets rancid. There are two downsides to rancidity. One: it makes things taste bitter. Two: the body doesn't like it!

What Does Eating Rancid Flour Do To the Body?

When you eat rancid oils, they cause free radicals in the body. Those buggers wreak havoc on the body and cause disease, and must be counteracted by anti-oxidants. Moral of the story: we don't want to introduce any more free-radicals into our bodies than necessary. Eating store-bought whole wheat flour that has been sitting in your pantry for awhile is a sure way to flood your system with free radicals. No, thanks!

4 Ways to Keep Whole Grain Flour Fresh

Follow these tips to avoid the free radicals and ensure the most nutritious flour possible!

1. Buy from a company with a high turnover rate.
Chances are good that whole wheat flour at the grocery store has been sitting there at room temperature for awhile before it even gets to your house. Try buying whole grain flour from a local health food store that grinds their own, or ordering from a whole foods Co-Op with high turnover. Here in West MI, I sometimes buy Wheat Montana flour from Country Life Natural Foods. They also grind at low temps which helps prevent some rancidity and preserves more nutrients.

2. Tightly seal.
As soon as you get your flour home, put it in an air-tight container or Ziplock. Keeping out air and moisture will help it stay fresh longer.

3. Refrigerate or freeze your flour.
If you have room in your freezer, place your fresh, sealed whole grain flour in there. It will last for several months. If not, put it in the second best place: the fridge. Every source says something different about the shelf life of whole grain flour, but this source says 6-8 months in the fridge, 2 years in the freezer. I'm guessing that's a bit generous, but if you are baking regularly your flour won't last that long anyway.

4. Grind your own.
The best way to ensure fresh flour is to grind your own from whole wheat berries just before baking. I do this in small quantities (2 cups at a time) with my Vitamix and I've been quite satisfied with the results. If you are ready in invest in (and have the space for) a grain grinder, I have heard good things about the Nutrimill. Either way, either grind just enough for your recipe or grind extra and store tightly sealed in fridge or freezer. And then bake some honey oatmeal bread or graham cracker bites!

For more information:
Food for Thought: Is Freshly Milled Flour more Nutritious?

Do you bake with whole grain flour? If you grind your own, what is your method of choice?

This is part of Fight Back Friday, Tasty Traditions, Sunday School, Make Your Own Monday, Natural Living Monday

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  1. I grind my own flour using a nutri mill and I really like it. I grind fresh every couple of days.

    I would love to have you share this and any of your other posts on Thursdays at Tasty Traditions: http://myculturedpalate.com/

  2. Hi, I found your blog through Butter Believers Sunday School Blog Carnival. I am your newest follower by RSS. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be fantastic. Hope you are having a good week.

  3. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)