Foods, like almost everything else, have an expiration date. After that time has passed, it is best not to consume them if you want to avoid risking adverse health effects. But flours are one of the very few exceptions.
Most people store flours for long periods, which is well beyond the indicated shelf life. Amongst the varieties, rice flours remain the longest. Some people argue that they never go bad; others feel that the ‘best before date should be followed, even if not diligently. So, how long does rice flour last?
Well, if you want to know, you can quickly find out down below.
A Little About Rice Flour
Rice flour is a form of grounded raw rice and is a popular alternative to wheat flour. Also known as rice powder, it can be milled from both white and brown rice after having the husk or paddy removed.
Rice flour is a common ingredient in Asian and Latin American cuisine. It acts as a thickening agent in soups and stews and as a liquid separating inhibitor in refrigerated or frozen foods.
Rice flours are excellent for healthy cooking. It is more fibrous than regular flour and contains a sufficient amount of B6 and manganese as well. Due to its mild flavor and texture, you can use it almost anywhere.
But this flour is gluten-free and cannot be substituted in recipes requiring yeast formation. However, the absence of gluten makes it perfect to be consumed by those suffering from Celiac disease. It also helps in maintaining a healthy liver.
If you regularly use rice flours in your recipes, you can attempt making your own by using long grain rice and a rice mill. While the one-time investment in the mill can be slightly steep, you can get back the value over time.
How Long Does Rice Flour Last?
Generally, both opened and unopened flour last for about 6 to 8 months, unlike whole-wheat flour, which is good for three months only. But by using proper storing methods, the best before date basically becomes a guideline, and this pantry staple can last indefinitely.
When used in food, rice flour lasts just as long as its fastest expiring ingredient.
How to Store Rice Flour to Increase Its Shelf Life?
Store your unopened bag in resealable plastic wrap to keep it away from moisture. It should be kept in the coolest and darkest corner of your pantry.
For opened packages, pour all the content into an airtight or plastic container and ensure the lid is secured. Keep the box away from smelly food as rice flour is powdery and can quickly absorb the smell.
If you live in a hot or humid area, you can also refrigerate your container to extend its shelf-life.
How to Tell If Rice Flour Has Gone Bad?
Despite following all the right steps, rice flours can sometimes get spoiled. Here are two easy ways to tell if yours has gotten rotten as well.
The smell is, by far, the best sensory tool in determining if a food has gone bad. In the case of flours, it will develop a rancid with a hint of mustiness due to the retention and degradation of the grains over time.
Flours spoil faster if they are stored in damp and warm areas as the moisture can promote the growth of mold and other micro-bacterial organisms.
Worms and Insects
Tiny bugs can also enter your flour bag and lay eggs. While some people try freezing the package to kill these insects, the better and more sanitary option would be to throw it out.
For checking to see if your flour has bugs in them, here is what you can do;
- Step 1: Get a Glass
Fill a clear glass or jar container almost with your rice flour four.
- Step 2: Press
Using the bottom of a smaller glass or back of the spoon, press down the flour until you get a smooth but flat and hard surface. It should almost reach the brim.
- Step 3: Wait
If there are any worms inside, they will make their way through to the surface, and you will notice them wiggling around.
In this case, throw everything out and clean your pantry thoroughly. While these pests do not cause any harm to your body, people might find them disgusting if they find them in their cooked food.
What Is the Worst-Case Scenario for Consuming Spoiled Rice Flour?
Apart from people getting disgusted at the sight of worms in their food and a gravelly textured finished product, there might be a few possible adverse effects. In the worst-case scenario, it might contain salmonella, mycotoxins and cause food poisoning.
A Few Terms to Remember
When shelving foods in your pantry, there are a few terms you must remember to ensure you are getting the best value out of them.
- Expiration Date
Expiration date indicates the period after which the product’s nutritional value will not be guaranteed anymore.
- Use-by Date
This date shows the period in which food remains in their optimal condition and maintain their quality. The use-by date is a rough estimate, so you do not need to throw your food right away.
- Sell-by Date
This date is more useful for inventory management rather than about consumption. It is for workers to determine how long the products should be displayed.
- Pack Date
Foods with pack dates have an extended shelf life. It also contributes to stock rotation and will showcase when the food is at its peak quality.
Rice flour is an excellent ingredient to be used in a healthy diet. It has many health benefits besides being super convenient to store. If you store them correctly, you can use them for as long as you want without facing any problems.
But food safety is very important, so you should always check to see if it is still in optimal condition. We hope that we have answered your question about how long does rice flour lastand other inquiries you might have had.