The Absolute Best Way To Store Fresh Grains

Typically we interact with grains that are ready to use; flour and white rice come to mind as easily packaged and more accessible versions of whole grains. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, whole grains are made up of bran, germ, and endosperm, while refined grains are only the easily digestible endosperm. When the bran and germ are removed, so are the corresponding health benefits such as fiber, B vitamins, and healthy fats. 

If you've always wondered why brown rice is better for you than white rice, it's because brown rice is the intact grain, while white rice is refined. Apart from brown rice, other common whole grains include bulgar, barley, quinoa, and the list goes on. There's a whole world of grains out there and a variety of ways you can use them, so you'd better know how to keep them safe while you research new tasty recipes.

Keeping them cool and dry is key

Grains contain significant levels of natural fats and oils, and it's these substances that can threaten your grains and make them go rancid, according to Oldways Whole Grains Council. When storing grains, you need to mind that heat, air, and moisture are the biggest threats. Keeping your whole grains as cool, airtight, and dry as you possibly can is the best way to maximize the time you have before they spoil. If stored properly, they can hang out in the pantry for up to 6 months, or if you throw them in the freezer, they will last a whole year. Cooked grains, on the other hand, will only last in the fridge (in their cooking liquid) for one week, per "The Miller's Daughter," via The Washington Post

Once these whole grains have been ground into flour, however, they've lost their protective shell and are more vulnerable to spoilage. Just as with whole grains, it's best to keep ground grains in airtight containers and to mind that you have between 1 and 3 months in a pantry and 2 to 6 months in the freezer before they start to go bad.

Follow these steps and you will have plenty of grains ready to enjoy as a fun side dish, like Thai quinoa salad, or pulse them into flour to use in your favorite baked goods.