If you asked Bob how to store whole grains, he’d tell you to buy an extra fridge. Put it next to your regular fridge and fill it with all of your whole grains. Most of us don’t have the ability to add an extra fridge into our lives. Even if someone gave me a free fridge and offered to pay the increase in my electrical bill, I couldn’t fit an second fridge into my kitchen. Excepting those who are able to have a fridge or freezer with spare room, the rest of us are stuck scratching our heads and hoping our grains will be fine. Here’s a rundown on where to store whole grains. I hope it will give you some insight and inspiration for your own kitchen and maybe frees up a little room in your freezer.
Whole grains are best kept in the fridge or freezer to prevent rancidity. True. They are. BUT, this is more important when a grain has been broken up in some way- be it milled into flour, cracked into cereal or flaked like oatmeal. Whole grains themselves (brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa, etc.) are more shelf stable that we think. Some of these grains can last many years without going rancid. That’s how nature made them. Most whole grains that have been broken up in some way will last up to two years, sometimes longer, without spoiling.
Here is a quick breakdown of where to store products.
- Whole Grains (wheat berries, brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc) used once a month: room temp
- Whole Grains used less than once a month: freezer
- Dried Beans: room temp
- Flour, Cereals, Cracked Grains used once a week: room temp
- Flour, Cereals, Cracked Grains used less than once a month: fridge or freezer
- Baking Mixes: room temp or fridge, do not freeze
- Refined Grains, Flours and Cereals (white flour, white rice, etc): room temp
- Items that should always be kept in the fridge or freezer:
- Almond Meal
- Hazelnut Meal
- Coconut Flour
- Wheat Germ
- Rice Bran
- Flaxseed Meal (whole seeds are fine at room temp)
- Hemp Seeds
- Active Dry Yeast (do not freeze)
I recommend airtight containers for everything, but at the very least use airtight containers for things left at room temperature. Bugs love whole grains and nothing keeps a bug out quite like a mason jar. Plus, mason jars filled with whole grains and beans are very pretty and make a lovely addition to your decor. You can make your own labels like we did with the display above, or cut out labels from our bag and adhere them to your jars. At my house, I have these labels (below) that include basic cooking instructions. While I might have the recipe down pat, others in my house do not and I want to eliminate the “I didn’t know how to cook it” excuse, if you know what I mean.
I hope this has been helpful. Do you have any insights from your kitchen on how to best store grains?