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Old 07-12-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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Question Kitchen Canisters

I have been looking for new kitchen canisters for the longest time. I'm picky about everything that goes in my kitchen! I previously had some cheap stainless steel canisters that were a pain to keep clean (oh the fingerprints!), and when the seals broke, I tossed them. I've just been keeping my flour, sugar, etc. in random plastic containers in the pantry since then, but I want a countertop set again, and this time I wanted something decorative. This is not an easy thing to find in stores these days! Tons of options online, but I'm not big on buying things I can't touch first. But that seems to be the only option. Still, I'm not loving what I'm seeing. So, the nostalgic person in me started searching Etsy and Ebay, and I found a set that matches one my grandmother used to have that I always loved. I am really tempted to buy it, however, they do not have seals on them. They are just ceramic. I remember my mother's were this way back in the 80s, too. I started doing some research, and I've read that flour should be stored in airtight containers because otherwise it can spoil. I never knew that! I mean, the paper bags it comes in aren't airtight. And I don't remember my mother or grandmother having this issue when I was growing up. Do any of you use non-airtight canisters for your flours and sugars? Thoughts/opinions on the necessity of airtight canisters? I don't want a set that is just decoration; they have to be functional.

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Old 07-12-2017, 11:15 AM   #2
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I don't have counter-top canisters. No room. My flours are in plastic bags in the pantry. Sugar is in a plastic half- gallon bottle in a cabinet above the stove. Salt is in a cheese shaker by the stove.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:47 AM   #3
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

I think flour and sugar should be in airtight containers to keep bugs out. I've never heard that it won't spoil in an airtight container. Where did you read that?

Refined white flour (all-purpose, bread, pastry) takes a long time to go rancid. Whole-grain flours go rancid more quickly because the bran has oils in it. I keep masa harina in the original bag inside a plastic bag in the freezer.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

I think flour and sugar should be in airtight containers to keep bugs out. I've never heard that it won't spoil in an airtight container. Where did you read that?
Sorry, didn't mean to imply that it would never go bad in an airtight container, just that it would take much longer than in a non-airtight one. I don't remember the exact articles I read, there were several, but the implication was that flour in a non-sealed container had a very short shelf-life. I use my flour often, but even I would be hard-pressed to go through a 5 lb. bag of flour in the amount of time they stipulated for non-airtight storage, unless I was doing an unusual amount of baking. I only cook for 2.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:34 PM   #5
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Now that I think about it some more, keeping moisture out of the flour is important - that can make it go bad more quickly. So airtight would be best for keeping bugs and moisture out, especially if you live in a humid environment.

Also, always freeze flour for a day or two after buying it, to kill any critter eggs that might be in it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:05 PM   #6
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Welcome to DC, CubsGal....

Can't help with canister information as I gave them up when we downsized to tiny kitchen mode...

I keep flower, sugar, different salts, etc., in quart and pint mason jars in the cabinet above my small work space.. The bulk refill sacks wrapped tightly and stored in another less used cabinet..

Ross
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:13 PM   #7
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Also, always freeze flour for a day or two after buying it, to kill any critter eggs that might be in it.
I also read that the bugs don't come in with the flour; they almost always come in after you open the bag.

That being said, my original point was that I don't recall ever having an issue with flour spoiling when I was a kid, and we didn't use air-tight containers. Bugs were not an issue either, even with the sugar. And my mother did not go through that much flour, either. So how necessary is it, really? I'm wondering if others out there use non-sealing canisters without issue.

The only time I've ever had an issue with bugs in my dried goods was when I tried buying them in bulk. Every. Single. Time. And not just with one specific item. No more bulk for me! They obviously are not storing them in appropriate containers at the store.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:17 PM   #8
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I also read that the bugs don't come in with the flour; they almost always come in after you open the bag. . .
My understanding is the opposite. Bug eggs are small enough that they can't be sifted out of the flour and end up in the bag with the flour. This is why you hear/read the recommendation to freeze the flour you buy before using it. Freezing kills the eggs.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:46 PM   #9
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Kitchen Canisters

I have a set of old copper canisters. Apparently they seal quite well, as evidenced by DH wrestling the top off the flour. I store most of my flour in the fridge. You might find a set at Goodwill.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:54 PM   #10
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I also read that the bugs don't come in with the flour; they almost always come in after you open the bag.
Not everything you read is equally reliable It would be helpful if you could provide your sources for these things, so we can evaluate them. Like Andy, I have read the opposite more than once.

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That being said, my original point was that I don't recall ever having an issue with flour spoiling when I was a kid, and we didn't use air-tight containers. Bugs were not an issue either, even with the sugar. And my mother did not go through that much flour, either. So how necessary is it, really? I'm wondering if others out there use non-sealing canisters without issue.
I use airtight containers for the reasons I mentioned. I guess we'll have to wait and see if someone else responds.
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