The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How and where do you all store your baking flour, berries and seeds?

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

How and where do you all store your baking flour, berries and seeds?

20 plus years ago, my pantry "hatched" with a bunch of tiny moths hatching from some millet and then they ate their way through other plastic bags also in the pantry, I had to throw it all out and I have never used millet and such ever again.

Currently, I have airtight bins of whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and bread flour. I just came back from the store and sitting on my counter are bags of wheat, rye flour, and some other similar things. Now, in the basement, I have some sealable ceramic containers, but I stopped using those after another similar hatching of flour weevils. I guess those containers were NOT really sealable! but I have several of them and they are then FREE. Can I make them sealable (linked photo of similar containers to what I have. I have SEVERAL of these of various sizes.https://www.target.com/p/oggi-7-piece-round-ceramic-canister-set-with-spoons-black/-/A-16580057 )

Or, should I get something else?

And then, where in the house do you all store your flour and similar things?

David R's picture
David R

Even if your containers seal perfectly, there's no guarantee that everyone else's containers are that good. If you happen to bring home a product with some eggs already in it, the strongest seal in the world won't help. You can't achieve the ideal at home unless the product was stored in perfect conditions every step of the way, and that's rare - or probably impossible. Avoid buying from any place that seems to have poorly-stored stock.

But still, properly sealed containers at home do help.

You could test your ceramic containers for an absolutely perfect seal: carefully without splashing (keeping the exterior dry, that is...) put in some cool water, engage the seal, and then leave the container upside down for a while. I don't know how perfect of a seal is truly needed against weevils etc.

Probably the worst thing in your 20-years-ago experience was that you thought everything was fine, and left it alone in the back of the pantry. If you buy something, use it regularly - this will mean (by a good accident) that your containers are also getting inspected regularly.

David R's picture
David R

As far as storage areas, there are a few absolute rules, plus a lot of "preferablys". Water, very high heat (such as next to a furnace), and exaggerated high humidity (such as next to a steam vent) are the "absolutely not" items that I can think of right now. Constantly fluctuating conditions (such as freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw, or humidity and temperature going all over the place) are not good either. Keeping everything off of the floor is a big help too - partly because rodents scout the floor first, partly because if there's an accident such as a leaking water pipe the floor always gets it.

Ideal conditions include: safe, clean, cool, dry, and in full view. (Full view because that way inspection is more likely to happen, rather than just get talked about on the internet. 🙂)

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

A couple of weeks of 10 below zero (that's F not C) does discourage most of the things that can hatch from itsy-bitsy little eggs nestled comfortably in a sack of flour or a bag of millet. You might consider a period of super cold quarantine before transferring suspect items into storage. Just a thought. And it reminds me, I think I've still got a bag of rice still in the freezer. Yes, you'll have to plan some 'lead time' into your shopping but it might help.

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

in a sack of grain.  I tossed it entirely, but my second sack was suspect.  So I froze the grain in my deep freezer for two weeks just in case, which I remember reading was sufficient to kill any weevils as well as their eggs.

In the end, my flour had a higher protein content ;-)

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

Or so I've been told. 

I've sifted a lot of flour and meals growing up...but how do you sift out weevils in grain??  Maybe a box sifter lets the critters and eggs fall thru...

I used to store my grain in buckets...and heard you could use dry ice technique to kill them then use O2 packs in the buckets to keep them out. 

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13376/how-prevent-wheat-weevil 

Someone here uses CO2 also for weevil and wheat.  

https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information-center/self-reliance/insect-control-in-home-food-storage/insect-control-introduction

"There is some question if freezing kills the eggs of all the different types of insects that can infest grain. So if you use this method, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on it so if insects do show up you can take care of them before they run you out of your food supply room."

"But studies show nothing is as sure for killing insects at home as carbon dioxide, with freezing and oxy absorbers a close second."

David R's picture
David R

(-10°F is about the same as -24°C, if anyone reading needed it.)

suave's picture
suave

I have a flour fridge.

Old Baker's picture
Old Baker

We had an infestation of weevils/moths a few years ago in the pantry.  Solution was to discard all products packaged in paper/cardboard, etc. and remove everything else.  Then a couple of blasts of an insect fogger, vacuum, and wait to see.  We now use bay leaves and eucalyptus oil as a preventative and put every new item from the store into the freezer prior to stocking in the pantry.  I read that 2-3 days of freezing (~0F) is sufficient.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I don't have a big enough freezer to store things, but we do have a small fridge I could keep things in, but not much!

 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

but if you can fit a bag at a time in there for a few days, that really should help. I order my grains in the winter and when we hit a -40 (C or F, take your pick. They are both the same temperature), I put my grains outside for a week. 

I’ve done the bugs in the pantry once and another time in a bag of hamster food. I don’t want to go back there again. Ewww!

David R's picture
David R

A fridge is quite good protection (because the door is sealed), but if there are eggs inside your grain they won't be killed by the cool refrigerator.

suave's picture
suave

The literature I've seen suggests that weevil larvae and adults have similar resistance to low temperatures and the eggs die faster.

David R's picture
David R

But guaranteed dead when it's still as warm as 40°F? That would be good news.

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

CO2 from dry ice is fine but you would have to make sure it displaced all the O2 in the container. After all CO2 itself is not poisonous and simply raising the concentration of it probably won't kill them all. On the other hand if you get rid of all the oxygen in their environment they're doomed, doomed I tell 'ya. One solution might be to use oxygen absorbers. These packets use a chemical reaction to lock up any oxygen in a closed environment. When I get grain that hasn't been packaged for long term storage it spends some time in a sealed environment with the appropriately sized absorber. Here's the source I use to purchase them https://packfreshusa.com/ . The advantage to this approach is there's no requirement to use energy and space in your freezer or purchase dry ice. The disadvantage is the fact that you'll need some 'lead time' on your purchases and a sealable storage system.

David R's picture
David R

... and to keep out oxygen long-term, you'd need a very strong container that seals perfectly, can't be shaken loose, and is made of 100% impermeable materials. But for the current purpose, where the main aim would just be to deprive bugs of oxygen long enough to be sure they're all dead, you could probably slightly cheat on the perfect impermeability and the high strength.

After all, this is hopefully a container you plan on opening from time to time. 🙂

msneuropil's picture
msneuropil

Being an old prepper...I used to store for at least 1-2 years of staples...and made my decisions of grain vs flour based on that. 

https://www.wisefoodstorage.com/blog/how-to-properly-store-grains-long-term/

My routine...for whole grains...store grain, in heavy mylar bags...o2 absorbers...5 gal buckets with new lids.  For stuff like flour I will be using perhaps in the next 6 months...I will use a gamma seal lid on the bucket...but place the opened mylar bag inside.  

Nothing is worse than storing a year or more of grain and finding it is bug infested.  I found it best to spend the day properly storing in mylar bags and O2 absorbers IN BUCKETS...cause I had a HUGE stash for my family and my parents in a unheated well house with pantry.

The stuff in mylar bags (rated to be stored as is in bags but in boxes or on shelving) did NOT make it thru a major water event.  That and we had rodents that actually ate into the HEAVIEST mylar bags emptying them of beans, oatmeal, rice, etc.  Huge waste. 

Our well house pipes busted on the remote property...and months later...I found a hole blasted thru the building with water shooting out...and a mushroom farm growing on everything stored...as well as the light bulbs.  SOOO learn from my pain...over prepare.  Crap happens and you can loose your storage to such events.  The stuff stored in sealed canned #10 started rusting and lost all their labels.  

BUT everything sealed in mylar bags inside sealed buckets...survived the water and rodents.  And all the grain was just fine.  White flour you can store like this for up to 10 years...IF you happen to want to do so, (for preppers).  IN a SHTF situation...white flour would be a blessing.  You might not be able to bake...but you can pat out some tortillas around a fire if in a survival situation.

Grain you can grind weekly or monthly and store sealed...and depending on the grain and whether you got it from a mill or a animal supply place...will last much longer than a purchased whole grain flour which has a short life span so not good for storage.