Storage of Flour
Flour is best kept in a cool, dry, dark place in a food quality container that allows the flour to breath. Air-tight containers should be avoided. Warm, damp conditions cake and pack flour and provide the right environment for insects to hatch and micro-organisms to flourish.
Flour readily absorbs odours and moisture and care should be taken to ensure flour products are stored away from onions and other goods with strong odours. Storage of flours in areas such as the laundry where humidity can be quite high is not recommended.
If kept in a plastic container ensure it is a food grade container. Plastic rubbish bins and plastic containers which are not food grade plastics may be harmful to health as a result of leaching of toxins from the plastic.
ALL ABOUT BREAD Flour Bins are ideal for flour storage and hold either 7kgs or 15 kgs. The use of flour bins will go a long way to preventing infestation and will also reduce the risk of flour absorbing moisture and odours from other products. Alternately it may be stored in the container in its original bag. (Remember to keep the label to identify the product and to access the correct mixing quantities)
Flour Bin 20 litre holds 15kgs of flour (loose) and will take a 10kg bag of flour (bag as well). The 7kg screw top flour bin can easily be refilled and is also suitable for storing 3x 2kg bread-mix packs.
Tha majority of pests that invade and multiply in your pantry are those that you have inadvertantly brought home in products purchased from the supermarket.
Sealed containers and products in which moth and other pests become evident are likely to have had the eggs or lavae in them when you brought them home. They were simply too small to see.Have you ever seen moth in a sealed container of rice and wonder how it got in? It was in there already in egg form and is now trying to get out to mate and invade other products. Flour will be high on its list of preferences.
Products that are notorious for containing moth eggs are rice, bird seed, dried fruit, dried nuts, mueseli, grains and seeds.
In undeveloped countries up to 80% of crops are lost to pests either in production or storage. In developed countries this figure is approximately 20%.
Moths and other pests are particularly active in the Summer months when the temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees. Many products, (such as rice) brought into the pantry contain moth larvae. Upon hatching the moths will quickly mate and lay further larvae near the stitching of bags and in flour dust on shelves.
Moths are attracted to artificial light and will therefore gravitate to areas such as pantry as well as being present in larvae form. The pantry makes an ideal breeding ground for moths with food sources being so readily available for hatching larvae. Weevil and beetles are also pests which can easily become a problem in the pantry.Moth larvae produce silk like webbing and in their early stage of development can be mistaken for maggots. Calico bags provide almost no protection as moth larvae will penetrate it quite easily. Moths will also penetrate multi-wall paper sacks and contaminate the product unseen from the observer.
The life cycle of most pests is approximately 20 days. It is a fairly safe bet that insect activity which is observed more than 4 weeks after a product has been purchased has commenced in the pantry rather than been in the product at purchase.
At ALL ABOUT BREAD we go to great effort to ensure our products are presented to you in the best possible manner. We go to incredible lengths and considerable cost to ensure that our products are not contaminated or invaded by pests. The use of some sensible precautions when you receive the product will limit your loss of food products to pests and assist you in producing breads that are not only delicious and healthy but also extremely economical.
Keeping the pantry dust free and food properly protected in containers is the basic step. Moth and other pests will lay their larvae in corners of shelving and in flour dust. The use of dried bay leaves around certain products can also be a helpful deterrent to pests. Ensuring the pantry light is turned off each night will reduce the attraction of moth to the area.
The use of sprays to control moth in food areas is not recommended and can be harmful to both products and consumers of those food-stuffs. The use of sprays is also limited in effectiveness as it mainly kills pests you can see. By then it is generally too late as the moth have already mated, laid eggs, which will provide re-infestation in a number of days.
Placing products into the freezer for two days will kill any live moth, eggs and larvae present and eliminate a great deal of the problem. Routinely placing newly bought product in the freezer before storage in the pantry is extremely effective and well worth allocating some freezer space for that use.
Moth have the capacity to penetrate even multi-wall paper bags. Calico provides almost no protection. Using Flour Bins to store the flour in will also greatly assist in ensuring your flour and bread does not have unwanted protein in the form of moth. (Remember to allow Flour to breathe) 7kg and 15kg food grade flour bins are available from ALL ABOUT BREAD.
Moth Traps available from ALL ABOUT BREAD are particularly effective in reducing the threat to food stuffs.
The Pantry Moth Traps contain a pheromone that attracts moths to the trap, thus cutting the breeding cycle. They are completely food-safe and can be placed right next to food.
The traps are extremely effective and have a life of approximately 3 months. There are two traps in each packet and therefore provide up to 6 months protection for a small purchase price.
Prevention is better (and less expensive) than cure. It is prudent to use the traps before moth appears as a problem and you discover your food has already been effected.
Monitor grain product bags in your pantry regularly. The eggs look like extremely fine grains of sand possibly in a fine web. Look for small pinholes appearing or small piles of product outside the bag. It is a sign of activity happening inside the bag. Isolate it immediately, and give it the big freeze.