Are you considering substituting your usual flour with other alternatives, coconut flour maybe?
This will be your first encounter with coconut flour and you’re not quite sure how long this product can last. What is the proper storage for coconut flour? Does coconut flour need refrigeration? Or is it okay to keep coconut flour in the pantry?
Does the situation above sound familiar to you? If yes, don’t fret, we have prepared this article for you. Carry on and find more information on coconut flour shelf life, storage, how to tell if coconut flour goes bad!
What is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is garnering popularity as a substitute for traditional flours. It is widely used particularly for baking recipes.
Coconut flour is highly preferred by those following paleo and keto diet as well as people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or allergy. Moreover, it is rich in oil, fat, and fiber and pretty easy to use in a recipe.
Although bearing “nut” in the name, coconut flour does not belong to nut flours, like almond flour. Instead, this flour is made from the white pulp of coconut fruit. Yes, that green, round-shaped fruit that you most enjoy on the tropical beach.
Coconut flour is prepared by grinding dehydrated coconut pulp into a fine powdery flour. The pulp is a by-product of coconut milk and cream production.
If you make your own coconut milk from scratch, you can also try making coconut flour from the pulp. What you need to do is to dry the pulp and blend it into a fine floury texture. It’s a great way to get two products out of one ingredient!
How to Store Coconut Flour
When it comes to storage, the general guidelines are more or less similar to that of other typical flours, such as almond flour.
Unopened coconut flour can be kept at a cool, dry place, away from sources of light and heat, such as your kitchen pantry or cabinet. Avoid exposure to heat and moisture as these two will degrade the flour and molds can start to grow.
After opening, keep it tightly sealed and if necessary, consider transferring the remaining product into an airtight container or jar. It can be kept at room temperature, however, keeping it in the fridge can effectively prolong the shelf life.
If you decide to make the homemade coconut flour, always keep it in an airtight container. If you plan to finish the flour shortly, simply store it in your kitchen cabinet. But, if you plan to keep it longer, consider storing it in the fridge.
Can you freeze coconut flour?
Yes, freezing always comes handy when it comes to preserving food items at home. Simply transfer the flour into a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container.
It can be more practical to separate the flour for each recipe before freezing. When you need the flour, simply thaw it inside the fridge.
How Long Does Coconut Flour Last?
Coconut flour does not last as long as traditional wheat or grain flour. It is rich in oil and other nutrients which also make it more prone to getting rancid.
Typically, coconut flour stays good for 12 – 18 months after the production date. Observe the “best before” or “best by” date printed on the package. This date informs that the product will maintain its prime quality. This information is very useful to guide your purchase or consumption.
It is worthy to note that proper storage is always the key to extending shelf life. A product can go bad faster with improper storage or if the package is damaged, even before the date.
Homemade coconut flour can stay fresh for a few weeks at room temperature. In the fridge, it can stay fresh up to 2 months and even longer. Make sure to keep the container tightly closed to avoid exposure to air.
Store-bought coconut flour is best consumed prior to the best by date. But, this doesn’t mean that the flour will go bad right after the date.
With proper storage, an unopened pack of coconut flour can stay for the next few months up to a year in the fridge.
An opened pack of coconut flour should be finished before it goes stale, but may still be edible for up to 3 – 6 months. Prior to use, it is always suggested to check if the quality is still acceptable (otherwise it will ruin your recipe) or if any spoilage signs are seen.
How to Tell if Coconut Flour is Bad
Coconut flour is susceptible to oxidation which causes the product to go rancid quickly. If your flour smells rancid, it is a sign that the flour is bad and better to toss it. It won’t smell nice and may ruin the taste of your baked goods.
Coconut flour is high in fiber and absorbs moisture very easily. Thus, after some time, the powder can get clumpy. Other signs include the growth of molds, an infestation of bugs/ insects, or discoloration. If you see one of these signs, it is also time to discard the remaining product.
If the package is damaged or when in doubt, it is better to discard it for safety reasons.
Yes. Just like many other packaged foods, the “best before” date stamped on the package is an estimate from the producer to guarantee that the product will maintain its prime quality prior to this date.
Beyond this date, most food products are likely to be safe for consumption, unless food spoilage occurs. However, expect a decrease in quality. For coconut flour, you may expect a rancid odor and a clumpy texture. It is your call to keep it or toss it.
However, if the package is damaged, or any signs of spoilage are seen, it is always suggested to stay on the safe side and discard the product.
Yes, coconut flour is considered a staple item for those following the keto and paleo diet.
No, it is not. Coconut flour is made from coconut fruits. Thus, it comes naturally as a gluten-free product.
Coconut also doesn’t belong to tree nuts, such as almonds, hazelnut, walnut, etc. Therefore, naturally, coconut flour is also free from tree nuts allergens, otherwise stated by the manufacturer. This can happen if the production line is also used to process other products containing tree nuts.
Yes. Coconut flour can be used as a thickener for soup, stews, gravy, dessert, etc. Remember that coconut flour is made from the by-product of coconut milk/ cream production which also has thickening property.
To use as a thickener, simply dilute the flour with water to reach the desired consistency.
Whether you are following certain diets or trying out coconut flour to diversify your recipes, it is worth to note that coconut flour should not be treated like other traditional flours.
Coconut flour can go bad more quickly due to its nutrients density. To prolong the shelf life and minimize food waste, always practice good hygiene and proper storage.
Coconut flour can be kept at room temperature, but keeping it in the fridge or freezer can extend the shelf life as well as maintain its quality. It is suggested to use it before it loses the quality and flavor.