Have you heard that whole grains and whole grain flours should be stored in the fridge or freezer? Keep them in the pantry and they'll go rancid or be infested with weevils, right? Anyway, that's what I tell myself every time I try to cram a bag of whole-wheat flour into my already-crowded freezer. But author and whole grains expert Maria Speck has a different opinion, one that makes storing whole grains a whole lot easier.
"I store my grains the way I’ve learned it from passionate Germans who have used whole grains for centuries," says Speck on her blog. She transfers grains into mason jars with tight-fitting lids and stores them in a cool, dark place. The grains she uses most are stored in open shelves in the kitchen, which allows her to see what she has on hand at a glance. Stored this way, whole grains will last for several months or more, though flours may have a shorter shelf life. (She recommends always smelling your flours before using them to check for rancidity.)
If you're concerned about bugs, know that the freezer is a good tool for preventing weevils, but you don't have to store grains in deep-freeze permanently. According to Ohio State University Extension, freezing grains for four days is sufficient to kill any eggs. Microwaving the grains for five minutes will also get the job done.
So if you've been avoiding buying whole grains because you don't want to deal with the hassle of storing them in the freezer, consider this permission to buy a couple new grains the next time you visit the store. Just don't forget to use them!
How do you store your whole grains and whole grain flours?
(Image: Faith Durand)