Are you ever afraid to open your pantry doors and look too closely? Do you wonder if the flour, sugar, baking powder or baking soda are too old to use? It’s been six months since the holiday baking season. Should you throw them out?
Here’s how to avoid wasting money and products: store them as recommended and test to see if they are still effective. You can’t always tell by looking.
Dry ingredients should be stored in tightly-covered containers, in dry areas (humidity less than 60 percent), away from light, and between 50 – 70 degrees F room temperature. Read labels and observe “use by” dates.
Baking powder: keeps 12 to 18 months. Test for freshness by mixing one teaspoon of baking powder with one-third cup hot water. If it foams vigorously, it still has rising power.
Baking soda: keeps 12 to 18 months. Test for freshness by placing one and one-half teaspoons in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon vinegar. If it fizzes, then it will still help leaven a food. If it does not fizz, use it as an odor catcher in the refrigerator.
White flour: keeps 6 to 12 months. Store flour in an airtight container or freezer bag to preserve its moisture content. Exposure to low or high humidity will affect the moisture content of the flour and may affect the outcome of a recipe. For longer storage, keep white flours in the refrigerator in an airtight container. All-purpose and bread flours will keep up to two years at 40 degrees F in your refrigerator. They can be stored indefinitely in the freezer. If measuring flour from refrigerated or frozen flour, allow your measured portion to come to room temperature before using it in baked goods, so it does not affect the action of other ingredients, such as yeast or baking powder.
Whole wheat flour: keeps 1 to 3 months at room temperature; refrigerate whole wheat flour if you want to keep it longer. In an airtight container or freezer bag, whole wheat flour will maintain good quality for 6 months in the refrigerator and up to 12 months in the freezer. The wheat germ in whole wheat flour contains oil that can become rancid at room temperature.
Save money by avoiding waste. Check your pantry today.
By Joanne S. Cavis, CFCS
UGA Cooperative Extension
Family and Consumer Sciences information to inspire you to save money while you engage in Life-Long-Learning . . .