Flour is a staple ingredient in many households, and gram flour, also known as besan or chickpea flour, is no exception.
But what happens when you find an old container of gram flour at the back of your pantry? Is it still safe to use? Does gram flour go off?
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of gram flour and how to tell if it’s still good to use.
So, let’s dive in and find out if that container of gram flour is still worth keeping!
Does Gram Flour Go Off?
Like any other type of flour, gram flour can go off if not stored properly. Gram flour should be stored in a tightly sealed, airtight container to keep out moisture, insects, and other critters. It normally has a shelf life of about six months at room temperature, but it can last longer if kept in the refrigerator or freezer.
According to Healthline, the type of flour can drastically change its shelf life. Regular flour tends to last 6-8 months past its printed date, while whole wheat flour is typically only best for an extra 4-6 months. Brown rice flour spoils much more quickly and should be kept in the freezer to extend the shelf life from about three months to closer to a year. Many gluten-free baking flours contain a mix of different flour types including flours from chickpeas, nuts, seeds, gluten-free oats, and rice. While bean flours tend to last a little longer than whole grain flours such as oat, they still only have a shelf life of about six months so it is best to store these types of flours in the freezer as well.
What Is Gram Flour?
Gram flour, also known as besan or chickpea flour, is a type of flour made from ground-up chickpeas. It is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi cuisines, and is commonly used in dishes such as pakoras, chillas, and kadhi.
Gram flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a popular choice for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It is also high in protein, iron, and fiber, making it a nutritious addition to any diet.
When it comes to shelf life, gram flour has a similar lifespan to other types of flours. It can last up to six months at room temperature if stored in an airtight container. However, it can last even longer if kept in the refrigerator or freezer.
It’s important to note that like any other type of flour, gram flour can go off if not stored properly. Moisture and exposure to air can cause it to spoil more quickly. To ensure that your gram flour stays fresh for as long as possible, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Consider transferring it to an airtight container or bag and storing it in the refrigerator or freezer for maximum shelf life.
How Long Does Gram Flour Last?
Gram flour, also known as chickpea flour or besan, has a shelf life of about six months if stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed, airtight container. However, if you want to extend its shelf life, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer. In the freezer, if stored properly, gram flour should keep for 1 to 2 years.
It’s important to note that each type of flour has a different expiration date. Whole grain flour contains more oils than refined flour (like all-purpose flour), and gluten-free flours containing nuts are high in fat, so these flours can become rancid more quickly. Additionally, besan from Indian stores may already be a few months old and have been stored in hot conditions, so it’s best to use it up within months or refrigerate it.
To ensure that your gram flour is still safe to use, pay close attention to any unpleasant odors, discoloration, or mold growth. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to throw out the flour. Remember that while gram flour can last for a while when stored properly, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.
Signs Of Spoiled Gram Flour
One of the most significant indicators that gram flour has gone bad is the smell. Gram flour typically has a nutty aroma, but if it smells off or stale, it may have gone bad. Additionally, if the flour has come into contact with moisture or water, it may develop moldy clumps and a foul smell. If you notice any discoloration or clumps in the flour, it is best to discard it immediately. Another way to tell if gram flour has gone bad is by tasting it. If it has a bitter or sour taste, it may be spoiled and should not be used. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to consuming expired flour, as consuming rancid flour can lead to adverse health effects. To prevent food waste, try to use up your gram flour before its expiration date or store it in the freezer to extend its shelf life.
Proper Storage Of Gram Flour
To ensure that your gram flour remains fresh and doesn’t go off, it is important to store it properly. The first step is to transfer the flour from its original packaging to an airtight container that seals tightly. This will keep out moisture, insects, and other critters that can cause the flour to spoil.
It is recommended to store gram flour in a cool, dry place such as a pantry or cupboard. However, if you live in a humid or hot climate, it is best to store the flour in the refrigerator or freezer to extend its shelf life. The cooler temperatures will slow down the degradation process and help maintain the freshness of the flour.
It is important to note that gram flour, like many other types of flour, can absorb odors from other foods in your pantry or fridge. Therefore, it is best to store it away from strong-smelling foods such as onions and garlic.
If you are unsure about the freshness of your gram flour, there are a few things you can do to check. Firstly, check the expiration date on the packaging if there is one. Secondly, smell the flour – fresh gram flour should have a neutral odor while spoiled flour will have a rancid smell. Lastly, examine the color and texture of the flour – fresh gram flour should have a smooth texture and light color while spoiled flour will be discolored and may contain mold.
By properly storing your gram flour and checking it regularly for freshness, you can ensure that it stays good for up to six months or even longer if stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Using Up Old Gram Flour
If you have some old gram flour that you discovered in the back of your pantry, you may be wondering if it’s still safe to use. The good news is that gram flour can last up to six months at room temperature if stored properly in an airtight container. However, if your gram flour has been sitting around for longer than six months or if it was not stored properly, it may be time to use it up.
One great way to use up old gram flour is to make traditional Indian snacks like pakoras or bhajis. These deep-fried fritters are made by mixing gram flour with spices, vegetables, and water to create a thick batter. The batter is then spooned into hot oil and fried until crispy and golden brown. Pakoras and bhajis are delicious and easy to make, and they’re a great way to use up old gram flour.
Another way to use up old gram flour is to make homemade face masks or hair masks. Gram flour is known for its cleansing and exfoliating properties, making it a popular ingredient in natural beauty products. To make a face mask, simply mix gram flour with water or yogurt until you have a thick paste. Apply the paste to your face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. To make a hair mask, mix gram flour with coconut oil and honey until you have a smooth paste. Apply the paste to your hair and scalp and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing your hair as usual.
Finally, you can use old gram flour in baking recipes that call for chickpea flour or besan. Gram flour is made from ground chickpeas, so it can be used as a substitute for chickpea flour in many recipes. Try using it in recipes like socca (a type of French flatbread), gluten-free pizza crusts, or even chocolate chip cookies.