Does Coconut Flour Go Bad? Does it Expire?
Question: does coconut flour go bad? Read on to find out.
Coconut flour is nut flour that contains high levels of oil. This type of flour is popularly used by people who strictly follow a gluten-free or paleo diet. What we would all like to know is, can coconut oil get spoiled?
Since there are a lot of recipes that can be used with coconut flour, it can also be used in the wheat recipes that you already do. All you need to do is substitute about 10% to 15% of your wheat flour with coconut flour and you’ll get the same results when making the dish you’re cooking but with a slightly healthier touch.
Although this product made from coconut is referred to as flour, it’s not really like “normal” flour. The way it is stored is governed by some different rules. As coconut flour contains nut oils, it is prone to rancidity and oxidation. This means that it can easily become stale or go bad at some point.
How To Store Coconut Oil
Typically, most flours can easily be stored either in the kitchen cabinet or in the pantry, right? Although this is method is recommended for most flours, coconut flour shouldn’t be stored in the same conditions.
Coconut flour needs to be kept in a very dark, cold area, away from heat sources and sunlight. Storing the product in very low temperatures is more vital once the package is opened. Obviously, the flour has to be protected from moisture, so ensure that the storage area is very dry as well.
Finally, ensure that the package is tightly sealed after every use, or even better, transfer the product to an airtight container once it’s opened. Avoid leaving an already opened pack of coconut flour (especially if it’s at room temperature) because it will become stale very quickly. There might be slight changes but there will definitely some difference in taste.
Now let’s look at the different methods you can store your coconut flour and the pros and cons.
Storing Coconut Flour in the Pantry
While you’re not encouraged to keep your coconut flour in the pantry, the method should work as long as then package isn’t opened. Once the packaging is unsealed, it’s best that the product be stored in the refrigerator. It’s recommended that you keep an unsealed pack of your coconut flour in a dark cabinet in the kitchen. For best results, ensure that is stored away from moisture, heat and light.
Note that keeping an already opened pack of coconut flour in the pantry will not make it become rancid or stale immediately. The quality of the product will deteriorate slowly over time and keeping it in the freezer or fridge will slow the process down.
Storing Coconut Flour in the Refrigerator
The best way of storing coconut flour whether the package is unsealed or not is in the fridge. The cold temperature will reduce chances of rancidity and oxidation, which in turn will prolong the product’s shelf life.
With that said, the flour should be transferred into an airtight container after it’s unsealed. Since coconut flour can absorb other odors from the fridge, its original flavor will be affected. Also, if the coconut flour is not packed properly, it will get spoiled faster even if it is being stored in the refrigerator.
Storing Coconut Flour in the Freezer
If you have a lot of coconut flour that you aren’t going to use anytime soon, the best way of preserving it is in the freezer. This method is great for extending the shelf life of the gluten-free product.
If the coconut flour already comes in plastic packaging or cardboard containers, you can chuck them in the freezer immediately because they don’t need additional prepping. When it comes to leftover coconut flour, you’ll have to add another layer of protection. Keep the original packaging sealed, put it in a freezer bag or container before storing it in the freezer.
How Long Does Coconut Flour Last?
Coconut flour always comes with a “better if used by” or “best by” date, meaning that the product will retain its quality until it gets to the best by date. Once the date passes, the flour will immediately go bad. Since this is just food and not magic, the quality of the product deteriorates slowly with time.
The speed of this process is determined by numerous factors, the temperature being the main factor. When the temperature is low, the slower the flour deteriorates, thus why the product needs to be kept in the freezer or fridge. It will easily stay for several more months or even years (if frozen) when stored in chilly temperatures.
If your coconut flour doesn’t have any signs of being rancid, stale or bad, it’s safe for consumption. Note that although the product will still be safe for consumption for a prolonged period, you may not like how it tastes.
In short, if you store your coconut flour properly, it should remain fresh for about 12 to 18 months past its date of production.
|Unopened Package||“Best by” + 3 – 6 months||“Best by” + 6 – 12 months||“Best by” + 12 – 24 months|
|Opened Package||“Best-by”||“Best by” + 3 – 6 months||“Best by” + 6 – 12 months|
Note that the dates given above are only estimated and coconut flour can stay for a prolonged time. Don’t forget to keep looking for any signs of spoilage.
How To Tell If Coconut Flour Is Bad
Coconut flour normally has a nutty, sweet aroma and is light cream or ivory in color. If you notice any change in aroma, texture or color, the coconut flour has definitely gone bad.
If the product has a lot of clumps (we’re not talking about small clumps which end up forming sooner than later), then do away with it. same thing applies to when it develops an off (or unpleasant) odor. When coconut oil is rancid, it develops a slightly bitter taste, so look out for this as well.
There are instances where insects or bugs can infest the flour especially when it has been on storage for a very long time or the bag wasn’t sealed properly. If this occurs, just throw it away.
If the product lasts past its best-by date and you don’t notice any of the regular signs of spoilage, I bet you’re wondering whether it’s still usable. In most instances, the flour is still safe for use. A lot of people have used the product after the best-by date and the dishes they prepared had great results.
Coconut Flour FAQ
Does Coconut Flour Need to be Refrigerated?
You necessarily don’t need to keep coconut flour in the fridge, but it’s the storage method is highly recommended (look at Bob’s Red Mill FAQ). When coconut flour is stored in the fridge, it deteriorates much slower than when its left at room temperature.
If you’re planning to use the entire pack of coconut flour within a few months of purchase, keeping it at room temperature won’t be as hard.
Can I Use Coconut Flour Past Its Expiration Date?
As we mentioned earlier, the date included on the packaging is just the “best-by” date and not the expiration date. If your flour doesn’t have any signs of going bad that are given above, it’s perfectly okay for use.
If the product appears to be okay but was stored in unfavorable conditions, just throw it away. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
How Do You Use Leftover Coconut Flour?
If you’re trying to eat healthier and it’s the first time buying coconut flour and you’d like to use it to prepare some pancakes but you discover that it’s not as easy as you thought.
So, the coconut flour has been in the kitchen cabinet or pantry for a couple of months and you finally learnt how to substitute wheat flour with coconut flour and you want to try out those recipes you’ve been saving. If you don’t really know how long the product has been in storage, don’t risk it and discard it.