How To Preserve Grains For Years
You've paid a pretty penny for some farm fresh heritage grains so you should get the most out of them. The good news that grains are much more shelf stable than we think and if stored correctly they can last for decades.
Tip: You can cook whole grains, dry them on baking sheets lined with kitchen towels and then freeze them so that they are ready to use directly from your freezer.
What Do Best By Dates Mean?
The FDA has determined that Americans throw away about one third of the food they purchase each year. It is a staggering amount of food waste. A big factor is best by dates and the food myth that most foods are only good for one year. The truth is that Best By means that the producer believes their product is potentially not at optimal quality and freshness after that date. It does not mean that the product is spoiled or unsafe to consumer and in most cases that Best By date is a very conservative estimate of quality. It's not that most producers lie about this, they just don't want to get an angry phone call or scathing review from a customer that did not store the product correctly and felt that it was not up to par. So don't throw out that bag of rice just because the best by date is approaching, just toss it in the freezer until you're ready to use it. If you are storing your grains in the refrigerator or freezer then completely disregard the best by date, they will last for up to 10 years and some estimate up to 30 years.
All grains should be stored in air tight containers. We love to reuse glass jars for this. Make sure to label those grains though, trust us you won't remember if it's cracked rye or whole sonora wheat berries in a year.
Whole unmilled grains like wheat berries or sorghum will last for at least for two years on the pantry shelf with no refrigeration. Mother Nature designed them that way! They do not require refrigeration, however they will be fresher and last even longer if you store them in the refrigerator or freezer particularly if their Best By date is approaching. Hard grains like wheat will last up to 30 years in the refrigerator or freezer, Soft grains like rye or quinoa will last up to 10 years.
Milled grains like flour, cornmeal and grits will last 1-2 years without refrigeration but they should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container unless they will be used within a few months for the best quality. You can also freeze them for longer storage or to free up fridge space. Frozen they will last for at least 10 years.
We store all grains in a cool, dark environment prior to shipping to you, never in a hot warehouse. Cornmeal and flour is kept in refrigeration.