Keeping Whole Grains
It is easy to enjoy whole grains. It is easy to buy grains. However when we get them home, what is the best and safest way to keep whole grains fresh and full of good nutrients?
Like many other foods, grains are perishable; however, the shelf life of grains is usually much longer than that of most foods. To ensure optimum freshness and shelf life, it is always best to buy grains that are well packaged and well-sealed. Grains should always look and smell fresh. When looking for grains that are not as commonly used as others, freshness may be optimum when the grain is purchased from a specialty shop or natural food store than from a supermarket. This is because an uncommon grain (in the United States), such as quinoa, is purchased much more often in a specialty shop by people looking for that specific item than by the average customer in a large food store.
Whole Grains Storage
Whole grains must be stored a bit more carefully than their refined counterparts, since the healthy oils found largely in the germ of whole grains can be negatively affected by heat, light and moisture.
Storage in Containers
Jar as a Storage Container
For home storage, keeping grain sealed in containers with tight fitting lids is often the best method for keeping grain fresh, especially when the container of grain is stored in a cool, dry, and dark location. A sealed container is very important for maintaining freshness and reducing the possibility of infestations.
An important point to remember is that whole grain does not keep as long as pearled or refined grain, because the germ portion of the kernels can cause the grain to become rancid over time. Never use grain or grain products that do not look or smell the way they should. It is best to buy smaller quantities of grains and grain products if you are finding it necessary continually discard large amounts of grain due to spoilage.
Keep in Refrigerator
The refrigerator can be a good place to store grains, especially in warm weather; however, using a sealed container is even more important in this case in order to prevent the grain from absorbing moisture and odors and flavors from other foods stored in the refrigerator. For long-term storage, the freezer compartment is the best place to store grains, but again, the grains must be in a sealed container or tightly wrapped.