How to Know If Wheat Flour Has Gone Bad


If you think there is something "off" about your wheat flour, chances are it is spoiled. Whole-wheat flour is more nutrient-dense and complex-tasting than white flour, but the extra oil from the bran and germ make it more prone to spoilage than white flour, where these outer layers are stripped before processing.

Wheat Flour Gone Bad

  • As with many foods, smell is a good indicator of spoilage. If your wheat flour has developed a rank or oily smell, it has gone bad. Touch it to see if it is clumpy or has an unusual texture, the other leading signs of spoilage. Once your flour has spoiled or begins to show these signs, there is no saving it. Throw away spoiled flour without tasting or using it, and practice good storage techniques going forward to prevent spoilage.

Wheat Flour on the Move

  • Another reason for spoilage in wheat flour is the appearance of weevils. These small insects that are found in the egg and larval form in most grains, can come to life if stored for a long time or in poor conditions. While weevils do not necessarily indicate spoilage, there are measures that can be taken to prevent them. Freeze flour for 48 hours to kill the eggs and larvae before storing the flour to prevent them from coming to life and making your flour unappetizing.

Storage Basics

  • Store wheat flour for up to six months in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place. If you wish to keep flour in its original packaging, place the opened bag in an airtight storage bag. Avoid storing wheat flour next to heat sources, such as a dishwasher, refrigerator or stove, to prevent premature spoilage. If it takes you a while to get through a bag of flour, store it in an airtight container or storage bag in your refrigerator or freezer to extend its shelf life and keep it fresh.

Buying Wheat Flour

  • If you cycle through your wheat flour regularly, spoilage will not be an issue. It is important that you buy high-quality flour to begin with. If possible, buy whole-wheat flour from a bulk food seller that has a high turnover of product to get a fresher batch of flour than those sitting on the shelves. If buying bagged wheat flour, check the sell-by date to find the freshest bag available. Inspect and smell flour before buying it, when possible, and always buy from trusted retailers with a high turnover for the best quality flour.

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