If you're one of the many folks experimenting with whole-grain flours, I'm sure you've encountered this question: because so many whole grains can go rancid relatively quickly, should you freeze your flour?Different people will tell you different things here, but I go with "no" on this one as long as you're using them quick enough. (This may also have a lot to do with the fact that our freezer is jam-packed at the moment.) You can avoid rancid flour by doing a few things up front before even buying it. First, I always buy my flours in the bulk bins in a store with high turnover so it's more likely that it is a newer batch and hasn't been sitting on the shelves forever. Second, smell the flour before buying it! If the flour has an oily or dank smell or it looks at all clumpy, it's likely rancid.
When you get home, store your grains in a cool, airtight container and try to use them within 8 weeks. Again, it does depend on what kind of flour you're talking about and some people will tell you you must use it in 3-4 weeks, but I've never had a problem. If you know you won't use your flour within this time frame, you can freeze it in a sealed bag and rest easy that it will not only stay fresh but those little grain moths that occasionally appear will never survive.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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