A relatively novel culinary development, coconut flour is quite unlike any other flour. This is due to the fact that it is not, as it were, an actual flour, but something that’s merely similar enough to flour. Since coconut flour can expire, we’ll explain why that is the case and how to prevent it.
As you’re about to find out, this flour substitute is special in a number of ways, though this comes with the caveat of having to store it differently than you’d store any type of regular flour.
Does coconut flour expire? Yes, coconut flour expires. Coconut flour actually expires faster than normal flour. The reason coconut flour is special lies in the process of its creation. In effect, it is merely a byproduct of making coconut milk, as strange as that sounds. The process leaves a substantial amount of unused coconut pulp, which is then dried and ground into a flour-like substance.
Because of this, coconut flour retains a good deal of nut oil. This is healthy, for all intents and purposes, but it also affects the longevity of the product, as coconut flour usually doesn’t last as long as regular flour does.
How Long Until Coconut Flour Expires?
Even though your coconut flour is now stored in the fridge, that doesn’t mean its shelf-life is put on pause. For all intents and purposes, properly stored, well-refrigerated coconut oil should stay fresh for about 12 to 18 months after its production date.
If you store your coconut flour in a fridge, add another 6-8 months to its ‘best by’ shelf-life. If you store your coconut flour in a freezer, feel free to add a whole extra year to the recommended use date. Try to be more conservative if the packaging has already been opened, however.
The good news is that, in most cases, coconut flour shouldn’t go bad quite that quickly, and these dates are merely generalized approximations for you to keep in mind.
If you’re still suspicious about that one bag of coconut flour that you just can’t use up no matter what you do, there is a way to tell if coconut flour has already gone bad.
How to Tell if Coconut Flour Has Expired?
An easy way to tell that your batch of coconut flour has gone bad is to check for changes in color, smell, texture, and – if push comes to shove – taste. Far from it that we would recommend for you to eat raw coconut flour, though.
Some issues with coconut flour will be readily visible at a glance, to be sure. Insect infestations, for example, are relatively common in all kinds of flour, and it goes without saying that you’ll want to throw it out immediately in that particular case.
If there are no critters milling through your flour, though, you should check if it’s gone clumpy. We’re not talking about a small clump here or there, mind, but about big, hardened clumps.
Virtually any change in smell is a bad sign with coconut flour, too. Discoloration or mold will be obvious signs of it having gone rancid, so keep an eye out.
Can Expired Coconut Flour Make You Sick?
As you may be aware by now, expiration dates aren’t set in date for some culinary items. Coconut flour is one such item, and if it shows no signs of rancidity or deterioration, chances are that it’s going to be safe to use even months past its expiration date.
Naturally, if you end up using coconut flour that’s grown moldy, or a batch that hasn’t been refrigerated and stored properly, you may not be happy with the end result. In a best-case scenario, your food just won’t taste right.
Naturally, deliberately using an expired flour of any kind will result in an experience that’s less than ideal, to put things lightly. The good news, though, is that doing so is highly unlikely to cause any health problems or long-term issues.
How to Properly Store Coconut Flour
You may be surprised to learn that, while most types of flour can (and should) be stored in pantries and/or kitchen cabinets, coconut flour will require a bit more attention in the long run. Ideally, you should always keep it in the fridge.
As we already established, coconut flour contains nut oils, which in turn makes it prone to rancidity and oxidation. Unless stored properly, it may well turn rancid.
Firstly, since it’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up using a whole bag of coconut flour in one go, it’s important that you either tightly close packaging afterward, or move the remaining flour into some type of airtight container. We recommend the latter for continued ease of use.
You do not want any moisture to make its way into the packaging, either. If you’re moving the flour into a different container, be sure to wipe it dry beforehand.
Once your remaining flour is packed tight and after you confirm that it’s still dry as gunpowder, you need to find a really dark and cold place to store it properly. This means that heat sources of any kind and/or direct sunlight are both a major no-no.
Thankfully, the rule of thumb is really simple:
- Small amounts of coconut flour are best kept in the fridge
- Larger amounts of coconut flour should be stored in the freezer
By now, you’re fully equipped with all the knowledge you’ll need to keep your supply of coconut flour safe and sound: both in the short, and in the long term.
For the most part, coconut flour is one of the safest cooking ingredients to stock up on. Not only due to its phenomenal longevity, but also because you can use it in an almost ridiculous number of recipes with a minimal change in taste.
It should be obvious, though, that you can’t simply replace some amount of, say, wheat flour with the equivalent amount of coconut flour. Now that you know how to store it properly, however, you’ll have plenty of time to look up fun recipes to use it on.