If you love gluten-free recipes, then coconut flour is probably one of the ingredients you almost always have in your kitchen. And if you’re like most people, you’re likely guilty of storing packets of flour for long periods, sometimes even past the printed date. You, therefore, may want to know – Does coconut flour go bad? Keep reading.
Does Coconut Flour Go Bad?
Yes, coconut flour does go bad. In fact, it degrades much faster than the normal all-purpose flour. The reason for this is that coconut flour contains traces of nut oils, making it susceptible to oxidation and rancidity. After some time, the product might go stale and the resulting foods may not taste as good.
Generally, coconut flour will have a best-by date printed on the package to give you an estimate of how long the product will stay at peak quality. But the flour won’t go bad right after this date. Depending on how it’s stored, you can use it up to a few months after the indicated period.
How Long Does Coconut Flour Last?
The speed of degradation of coconut flour will depend on a number of factors, the most important one being storage. Coconut flour prefers to stay in cool temperatures, and the lower the temperature, the longer it will last, meaning, while the product will be just fine at room temperature, it will retain its quality better in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you use your flour frequently, you can keep it in the pantry, kitchen cabinet, or any other place that has low humidity levels and doesn’t receive direct sunlight. If the packet is unopened, it can keep two to three months after the printed date, but for opened flour, it’s best to not consume it after the best-by date.
For people who don’t use coconut flour regularly or those who buy it in bulk, refrigerating or freezing the product would be a much better option. The cold temperatures will delay the deterioration process, enabling the flour to retain its quality much longer.
Unopened coconut flour can last between seven to nine months in the fridge and up to two years in the freezer beyond the best-by date. An opened packet in the fridge will keep for three to five months and up to a year in the freezer after the printed date.
Below is a chart with a quick summary of coconut flour’s shelf life.
|Pantry (past best-by date)||Refrigerator (past best-by date)||Freezer (past best-by date)|
|Unopened||2 to 3 months||7 to 9 months||Up to 2 years|
|Opened||Use before best-by date||3 to 5 months||Up to 1 year|
5 Tips to Tell if Coconut Flour Has Gone Bad
When it comes to coconut flour spoilage, the signs of a packet that has gone bad are not very different from those of spoiled all-purpose flour. Here is what to look out for:
1. Color Change
Coconut flour is white in color. If it develops a different hue over time, that should be a sign that the product is no longer safe to consume.
2. Altered Taste
Like color, a change in taste means that your coconut flour is probably not good to use. Coconut flour will usually carry the nutty, sweet flavors of coconut meat. Don’t use the product if it tastes differently from when you last used it. If it tastes stale, especially, that’s a sign it has gone rancid. Definitely throw it out.
It is unlikely that mold will grow on coconut flour, but if you haven’t been storing your flour properly and now it has some grey or green spots all over it, it’s likely that mold has already found its way inside the packet.
Mold usually develops where there is moisture, so if the flour isn’t sealed properly before storage and happens to soak up moisture from the atmosphere, chances are it will attract this unpleasant growth. Depending on how long the flour has been in storage, you may notice the microbial growth even outside the package. Discard the flour right away.
4. Insect Infestation
Mold is not the only thing you lock out when you keep your coconut flour properly sealed. A tightly sealed packet will keep bugs at bay too. If you see insects crawling in and out of your flour, egg clusters, or any other bug activity, get rid of the flour.
5. Prolonged Storage
Coconut flour that is two or three months past the best-by date will still be good to eat if the packet is still sealed. But if you find a packet that has been in storage way beyond that, you may want to check all the other signs we have discussed above to know if you can still use it.
Many people have consumed coconut flour that is past its printed date and gotten great results. However, if that packet has overstayed in the pantry to a point where its color, smell, or taste has changed, it is probably too old to use.
3 Tips to Store Coconut Flour
As with any flour, how you store your coconut flour will affect how long the product stays good for. Here are some tips to help you keep your packet fresh the longest.
1. Pick a Dark, Dry Place
Light and moisture are some of the biggest enemies of coconut flour. Storing your flour in direct sunlight will cause it to oxidize and an area with high moisture content will cause it to develop mold. All these will make the product unsuitable to use.
If you are storing your coconut flour at room temperature, get a spot that has low humidity, away from direct sunlight. The pantry or kitchen cabinet where you store your all-purpose flour would be the best place to put your coconut flour.
2. Store Opened Coconut Flour in the Fridge
While coconut flour will be just fine in the pantry, after you have opened the packet, it’s best to store the leftover in the refrigerator. Of course, the flour will not spoil right away, but its quality will degrade over time. Refrigerating or freezing the flour slows down the deterioration process, and the product retains its potency much longer.
3. Keep Coconut Flour Tightly Sealed
Whether you store your coconut flour in the pantry or refrigerator, always make sure it is sealed properly. This will keep moisture and bugs at bay while locking out scents from the nearby foodstuffs, enabling the flour to retain its original flavor.
Before putting the flour into your preferred storage, inspect the package to ensure it doesn’t have any holes or dents that may let contaminants in. Also, if the original packaging is not resalable, consider transferring your flour into an airtight container.
Here is a short video with tips on how to store flour:
While it demonstrates the storage of the normal all-purpose flour, these tips can come in handy if you are looking to extend the shelf life of coconut flour stored at room temperature too. Check it out!
The Risk of Consuming Expired Coconut Flour
The first question that will probably come into your mind before using coconut flour that is past its expiration date is whether the product will make you sick. Well, the answer can be yes or no depending on a couple factors.
First off, the date that’s printed on the package doesn’t necessarily indicate the product’s expiration. You can still use your flour for up to a few months without worrying about getting sick.
For the most part, that date is just an estimate of how long the flour is expected to keep its quality. It doesn’t mean that the product will spoil and make you sick immediately beyond that date.
Now, if the flour looks, tastes, or smells weird or has developed mold, that could be a sign that it has indeed gone bad and should not be consumed. Mold, especially, contains mycotoxins, toxins that can cause food poisoning if consumed in large quantities. You should toss out that flour.
Can You Freeze Coconut Flour?
Yes, you can. If you have bought coconut flour in bulk and you’re not planning on using it any time soon, you can always store it in the freezer to extend its shelf life.
Freezing coconut flour is easy. All you need is an airtight bag or container. If your flour comes in a plastic pack, you can just go ahead and place it in the freezer without additional prep.
But for leftover flour or packets that are not freezer-friendly, you must put the flour in an airtight container for extra protection. Seal the original package properly and put the flour into the airtight storage medium. Then chuck everything into the freezer, and your job is done.
Although coconut flour has an impressive shelf life, eventually, it does go bad. Signs of spoilage may include sour taste, change in color or smell, or presence of mold. While the product will keep fresh at room temperature, storing it in the refrigerator delays the degradation process enabling it to stay in peak condition much longer.