Extend the Shelf Life of Farro for Long-Term Storage
So you want to learn how to extend the shelf life of farro for long-term storage? Farro is an excellent grain to store in your pantry. Cooked farro is highly nutritious and filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, to ensure your family can benefit from it, it is important to learn how to store farro for the longest shelf life possible.
There are three varieties of farro, but when stored properly, they can all last up to 30 years. To ensure uncooked farro reaches its maximum shelf life, it is important that it is secured and stored in a food-grade 5-gallon bucket with mylar bags. Otherwise, they can last 3-5 years in an airtight container or up to 10 years in a mylar bag. Cooked farro has a shelf life of 5 days when kept in the refrigerator or four months when kept in the freezer.
What is Farro, and Why Should You Store It?
Farro is an umbrella term for three different types of hulled grain. Hulled grains are simply grains that cannot be thrashed to separate the edible part of the plant from the grass itself. These three grains originated in the fertile crescent. However, it has been widely consumed by the people of the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Farro can be categorized into three varieties (source):
- Farro Grande: Spelt
- Farro Medio: Emmer
- Farro Piccolo: Einkorn
Varieties of farro have been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and are said to have fed Roman legions of the Roman Republic. Today, it is a popular grain in many Mediterranean cuisines, and it has been rising in popularity in the US in recent years (source).
Shelf Life of Farro
The shelf life of farro depends on the storage method you use for storing it. See below for a storage chart of its shelf life.
Storage Method Shelf Life
5-Gallon Bucket w/ Mylar Bag 30+ Years
Mylar Bag 10-15 Years
Mason Jar 3-5 Years
Original Packaging 2 Years
Freezer (Cooked Farro 4 Months
Fridge (Cooked Farro) 5 days
How to Store Uncooked Farro
There are many ways to store farro, but not all of the methods guarantee the grain can stay fresh and edible for more than two years. Generally, you should aim to avoid the heat, moisture, oxygen, and light exposure. And this can be mitigated by properly storing your farro and keeping it in a cool, dry place. When people plan for long-term storage, they consider the following methods:
- Food Grade 5-Gallon Buckets with Mylar Bags
- Airtight Containers
- Original Packaging
5-Gallon Buckets with Mylar Bags
Storing food in 5-gallon buckets with mylar bags is the most effective way to store any grain, not just farro. This storage method not just protects the grain from environmental aggressors like heat, oxygen, light, and moisture, but it also protects it from pests and rodents. When properly stored, dried farro can be stored for over 30 years, almost indefinitely.
To store farro in 5-gallon buckets, begin by:
- Line a mylar bag around the food grade bucket
- Fill the mylar bag with grains up to 80-90%
- Seal the bag with a hair straightener or iron, but leave a small gap to place oxygen absorbers
- Place the oxygen absorbers in the mylar bags
- Then seal the mylar bag entirely
- Place the lid over the bucket, and close it using a rubber mallet
For a more detailed approach, consider reading our article on how to store food in 5-gallon buckets.
Alternatively, you can store mylar bags without a food gallon bucket. Farro stored following this method can be stored for 10-15 years. Mylar bags are effective for protecting against moisture, heat, direct sunlight, and moisture. However, the main con of using mylar bags is that they are not as effective against rodents. Rodents are known to bite through the metallic sheets protecting the grains from environmental aggressors. So if you intend to use mylar bags, make sure to store them in a place out of reach of rodents.
Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets
Related Article: How to Store food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners
Airtight containers are effective ways to store farro. Glass mason jars are probably the easiest and most convenient type of airtight container and work best when you use them with oxygen absorbers. Farro stored following this method has a shelf life of 3-5 years. This is optimal if you expect to use your supply of farro in the near term.
Related Article: Long-Term Food Storage in Mason Jars
Grains in their original packaging are usually not intended for long-term storage. So most grains in their original packaging last about two years. If your intention is to store food long-term, we suggest storing food in an airtight container, mylar bag, or 5-gallon bucket.
How to Store Cooked Farro
Cooked farro can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. When stored away, they should be kept in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. In doing so, it will protect the farro from air exposure as well as absorb the odor of nearby foods. Fridges and freezers are effective storage locations because they protect food items from light and heat exposure which are factors that cause spoilage.
When kept in the refrigerator, cooked farro can be stored for up to 5 days. After which, the farro will begin to emit a foul odor, and the flavor will be off, indicating it has spoiled. In the freezer, cooked farro will last about four months. However, it is suggested to eat it sooner, the better, as the farro will become less savory and nutritious over time.
Ideal Storage Location
The storage location can play an important role in the shelf life of farro. Farro should be kept in a cool, dry place, kept away from sunlight. Fortunately, if you are storing uncooked farro in a glass jar, mylar bag, or food-grade bucket, it can be kept at room temperature. You can place it in your pantry or in a cabinet must make sure that it’s elevated and hard to reach by pests, rodents, and pets.
As a quick reminder, farro, even at room temperature, has a shelf life of 30 years in a food-grade bucket.
Uncooked farro can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. However, we advise against it. Freezer and fridge space is valuable and should be used for meats and other food items that depend on cold temperatures for preservation. If a food item can be preserved at room temperature, it’s better to store it in a pantry.
People Also Ask
We found that people often wonder the following about farro:
To tell if your farro has spoiled, rely on your sense of sight, smell, and touch. Pay attention to the color of the grain and look for pests; if you notice discoloring, mold growth, or bugs, it has likely spoiled, and it’s better to dispose of it. If it looks fine, but you still have doubts, give it a smell. Spoiled farro will smell off, and you will know immediately if it has spoiled. Lastly, feel the texture of the farro; if it is wet, it has been exposed to moisture and should be disposed of.
Farro and white rice are similar in many ways. They both share 1) long shelf lives of over 30 years when stored properly, 2) filling carbohydrates are great for providing nutrition in most scenarios, and 3) they are versatile cooking ingredients that can be consumed with many different types of food items.
However, they also share differences, mainly when it comes to the health and nutrition benefits. For example, farro is more nutritious, and it is high in fiber and protein, as well as contains many antioxidants. White rice is highly processed in the refining process, removing many of the nutritional benefits.
Related Article: How to Store White Rice Long Term
Related Article: How to Store Brown Rice for Long-Term Storage
Farro berries and groats have a significantly shorter shelf life since the intact whole grain contains a higher concentration of oils. The higher oil concentrations will speed up the process of the grain spoiling. Typically, farro berries and groats last six months in a fridge and 12 months in the freezer.
Farro is mainly composed of carbohydrates, but it is a nutrient-dense grain, high in protein, minerals, and vitamins as well. The nutrient facts are provided below:
Nutrient 1 Cup (100g)
All in all, farro is a great grain to store in your long-term food pantry. It is nutrient-dense and a versatile cooking ingredient with a long shelf life. Both of which will allow you and your family to continue to benefit from it for a long time. The maximum shelf life of farro is over 30 years when stored properly in a food-grade 5-gallon bucket, so you will not have to worry about your food spoiling.
Related Article: 11 Items You Need for DIY Long-Term Food Storage
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