What are the Proper Conditions for Storing Corn Meal or Corn Flour?

Question: What are the proper conditions for storing corn meal or corn flour? Can the product be stored at ambient room temperature or should it be refrigerated? If humidity is factor, what would be the ideal level of humidity for the storage area?

Answer: Cornmeal and flour must be kept dry and cool, and ideal storage condition is to store them frozen at  0°F. This helps prevent rancidity from developing in the oil, it precludes infect infestation, and nearly prevents the loss of vitamins. Frozen in an airtight moisture high barrier film,  corn meal will keep indefinitely. The second best way to store corn meal and flour is at refrigerated temperatures at 32-40°F at a relative humidity of 55-65% for one year. Warm, damp conditions will cause mold to grow and a bad flavor and odor to develop. Warm temperatures can also cause insects to hatch in the cornmeal.

Unless the products are packaged in vapor-proof packages, there can be a serious problem of moisture absorption from condensation when they are removed from freezing to higher temperatures. Appropriate tempering can prevent this. A more rapid tempering can be obtained by placing large, 3 mil polybags around each pallet of flour before it is removed from frozen storage. If the plastic bag is tightly sealed, then the moisture vapor from the ambient environment cannot condense on the flour bags or pervade the flour causing it to become damp and possibly support mold growth.

Answered by WFLO Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) Chairman Dr. Michael Jahncke, Virginia Tech University.

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