Accompanied by a periodic chore I knew was coming…
…the every-few-months filling of the flour bucket.
Now: I used to stock roughly 90 pounds of flour up in the pantry, which is enough to fill the bucket three times and ensures me on the order of a year’s worth of bread. Alas that’s a long time to store flour in paper bags and I was getting a lot of clumping so I ate my supply down to the point…
…where that’s it. Six bags, 30 pounds…
So no question – it’s time to buy flour. Naturally this coincides with one of those unpredictable periods where it’s hard to find flour, but I have months to work that out. The question that is raised, though, is do I want to keep storing my flour this way. And looking over the supply of available empty food buckets, I’m going to go with no. I’m going to free up enough buckets to increase my flour supply back to a comfortable level and store it out of the paper bags.
Also…By the Power of Greyskull!
Note to self: No more early bread baking until it warms back up. I totally forgot that overnight resting voltage is lower when the nights get good and cold, and I damn near tripped the undervoltage shutoff on my inverter with the oven’s heating element.
If possible freeze the flour for 2-3 days then allow it to return to room temp before storage. Freezing kills all the microscopic life in the flour. Doing so ends their metabolic processes that contributes to spoilage over time. I have flour 5 years old that tasted fine because I froze it before storage. All such dry goods will have “to y livestock” living in it. Freezing kills them. Then store in a food grade sealed bucket.
We found the above to be really good advice for brown rice after we had to throw out a 25 pound bag that had more weevils than intact kernels. White rice doesn’t seem to need the freeze, but the brown is iffy.
There’s a similar procedure that uses heat (a few hours, don’t recall the specifics) but I haven’t tried it. Easier for us to make room in the freezer for a few days.
FWIW, Home Depot sells the food grade buckets in the paint department (they’re white, not the orange ones). Add a Gamma screw-on lid, and they’re damned handy.
Dan: I vac pack my 5# bags. Any benefit to freezing/thawing after the vac pack?
Back in the day when Navy flour probably had bugs in it: put yer 50# bag of flour in the walk-in cooler overnight. Transfer to freezer overnight. Then open and dig down to the bag’s center to remove the ball of dead bugs. Yum!
I use freezing as a preventative against bug eggs that can come along with bulk grains, etc.. I use it for beans, rolled grains, rice, and leaf tobacco. It works best at temps below 0f and for a period of at least 10 days. Btw – what typically triggers the hatching of bug eggs is temps of 75f or higher and higher humidity. After freezing I generally put the bagged items straight into 5 gallon gasketed buckets – the exception being the tobacco which goes into a dedicated cooler. All this is stored in a room that’s cooled in the summer and doesn’t get much warmer than 70f. Incidentally – that same room gets a dusting with diatomaceous earth a few times a year – another anti-vermin measure.
It’s hard to prove a negative – but I’ve been storing and rotating pretty decent quantities of the items above for about 15 years and haven’t found any larvae or bugs in items frozen this way.
I don’t generally stock any premixed foods in cardboard boxes – I’ve found that a great way to inherit bugs. If I did stock those items I’d freeze them first. Case in point – I never though to freeze packages of Wasa bread (a flatbread) but discovered a bucket just teeming with bugs a couple months ago – we inherited those from the store or somewhere along the handling route. So now the Wasa bread goes through a freeze too.