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Jan 18, 2005 07:59 PM

Chickpea flour - how long can it be stored? Please help, fast. Am about to try it.

  • c

I purchased some chickpea flour (besan) a long time ago - actually, it was a little over a year ago. It's been a sealed plastic package.

I just found a recipe that sounds good in the book "Vegetarian Planet." It's for chickpea dumplings in spinach-tomato sauce. I'd love to use my chickpea flour but worry that it's too old. I opened it and smelled it and it smelled okay, not rancid. Not particularly like chickpeas or anything, but I have no idea how it's supposed to smell.

Can I use it? I don't have a source for besan nearby and will happily toss this and scrap the recipe for now rather than going through the effort and having it fail for such a basic reason.

Any advice as soon as possible will be appreciated.

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  1. i have kept my chickpea flour for an embarrassingly long time (um, four years? bought it in seattle, now I live in Oakland, and it still resides in my freezer) and it is fine. Keep it in the freezer and it'll stay fresher, but if it smells fine and is not crawling with little bugs, go for it! If I read your post correctly, it's still in its original package, which, in my kitchen, practically passes as "new."

    Now, the chapati flour I had for the same amount of time was a different story, because it's used in breads, where texture is more of an issue. My source says chapati flour can be replaced with half white, half whole wheat flour, so that's what I do now.

    enjoy the fritters, they sound yummy!

    5 Replies
    1. re: patrick

      Thanks so much for your speedy response. I'm happy to get to finally use this flour, and am equally happy that my last little mealy-bug problem seemed to miss this bag. Luckily I sealed it up REALLY well (sealed bag in ziploc in sturdy plastic storage container) when I bought it at Kalustyans. Thanks for your suggestion -- next time I purchase some, I'll pop it right in the freezer.

      On to the fritters...

      1. re: Clarisssa

        we used to have major bug problems, but now we store nearly all flour, nuts, seeds, cornmeal, etc in the freezer.

        The only trick is that for yeast breads and risen things we have to remember to take out the ingredients the night before, to let them come to room temp.

        1. re: patrick

          I wish I had room in the freezer for everything. We always seem to be short on space. My compromise is that I put pasta, dried soups, rice, cornmeal, baking ingredients, etc. in these plastic containers. I store nuts in the fridge. Between mealy bugs and the occasional mouse, we always seem to be dealing with something.

          One problem that I have with freezing things (such as poppy seeds and nuts) is that I have a hard time telling the difference between freezer burn smell, which means something is no longer usable, and ordinary freezer smell. I wind up tossing things that might be good because I fear I'll ruin an entire batch of something.

          1. re: Clarissa

            my partner and i just bought a small chest freezer from Sears to store all our leftovers, stocks, sauces, baked goods, seasonal produce, etc. so now we have a luxurious amount of space for all our dry goods in the fridge-freezer.

            the chest freezer was much cheaper than i thought it would be -- about $250 including delivery for a 7-cu-ft freezer. it's been amazing to have so much space to store food!

            1. re: patrick

              Sounds great, but my kitchen (which is somewhat spacious, by NYC standards) can't fit a freezer. Maybe you can give me some space in yours?

              We're actually getting a bigger fridge in the near future (we're at 16-cu-ft now and will go up as high as we comfortably can in our space, not sure if it's 20 or 24) and I hope to have a bit more space then.

              Even more than storing basics in the freezer, I like pre-baking desserts or dessert components to have on hand for social occasions that arise unexpectedly. My husband hates this -- can't stand everything stuffed to the gills.

              If I ever leave the city I'm going to get a nice chest freezer and keep it in the garage or basement. That and a treadmill. Ah, dreams of space...