How To Keep Cereal Fresh? Useful Guide


Keeping cereal fresh is a tough task, especially during summers and rainy seasons. It is because they are sensitive to the hot, cold, and humid climate. And going by the problem of ever-rising inflation, it is better to keep excellent quality storage materials for cereals instead of facing the problem of discarding them due to spoilage. To address this problem here is the simplest way on how to keep cereal fresh.

To keep cereal fresh longer, transfer it to an airtight container as soon as you open the box. The best place to keep it is in a cool, dry place like the pantry. Do not place the cereal in the fridge unless you live in a very humid area.

On the other hand, if you want to keep fresh cereals for a long period, you can also keep them in a vacuum bag and seal them with a vacuum machine. It is the most effective way of keeping the cereal fresh; however, it might be a little inconvenient since you need to invest in a vacuum sealer machine for sealing the bag.

Best Way To Store Cereal

Storing cereal entails maintaining its crunch and keeping it from becoming stale. When it comes to cereals, there are three factors you should keep in mind: air, moisture, and humidity.

cereal
Image credit: Canva

The best place to store cereal is in an airtight container then put it in a cool, dry, dark place (for example your pantry). If you live somewhere humid, then placing it in the fridge is the ideal place to keep it a little longer.

Some people choose to keep the cereal boxes on top of the fridge because they do not have enough space in their cupboards.

Well, do not do this.

The cereal boxes can block the heat escaping mechanism from your fridge, meaning the fridge needs to work harder than usual to maintain its temperature.

On the other hand, an unopened cereal box from the supermarket is airtight and can keep the cereal fresh for several months.

However, once you have opened the cereal box, the case will be different. If the cereal will be consumed within the week, you can simply roll down the plastic bag within the cereal box and use a clip to keep it secure.

A simple trick you can do is to stuff the empty space at the top of the box with a plastic bag or newspaper to prevent the air from coming into the box.

Unfortunately, this method will no longer be effective for longer than a week or two weeks. If you want to keep the cereal for a few months, you should transfer it to an airtight container.

The use of sealed containers will keep the air out and stop any pantry pests. If you are concerned about the bugs getting into the cereal, then put a bay leaf in the cereal box. Bay leaves are known to be natural insect repellent because the bugs hate their bitter smell.

Check here for best airtight food containers.

Can You Keep Cereal In The Fridge?

You can keep cereal in the fridge as long as it is recommended or depending on the environment you live in.

Storing cereal in the fridge is only recommended if you live in a humid environment or somewhere where the pantry pests will be a problem. In a humid environment, the cereal can absorb moisture that will render it soggy. That’s why keeping it in the fridge can prevent this.

Moreover, whole grain cereals contain more natural fats and should be kept in the fridge for long-term storage. Take note that fats go rancid quicker at room temperature than they do in the fridge.

Meanwhile, if the environment is not humid and pests are not a concern, you don’t need to keep the cereal in the fridge. It will not increase the shelf-life of your cereal and the box will not consume much space. If you store the cereal improperly in the fridge, you can shorten the shelf-life.

Hence, always transfer the cereal into an airtight container before you put it in the fridge. If it is not kept in an airtight container, the smell and moisture from the other food items might be absorbed by the cereal.

Can You Freeze Cereal?

Freezing cereal is not usually recommended as a storage technique because it can change its texture. Frozen cereal can become soggy. If you want to freeze the cereal, I recommend doing a freeze test. Freeze a small amount of cereal for a couple of days and then observe what happens. If you are fine with how the cereal comes out, then you will be able to freeze more cereals safely.

Plain cereals will freeze better than cereals with a mix of fruits and nuts because they contain less moisture.

How To Store Cereal Long Term?

If you are serious about long-term, storage, the best thing you can do is to store your cereal in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Using this method, you can increase the shelf-life of your cereal to years rather than months.

Mylar bags are used to create a strong and durable barrier between the cereal and the outside environment. You can seal them completely with an ordinary iron. These bags are extremely sturdy. Nothing can penetrate the bag even air, water, and pests.

Before you seal the bag, you need to put an oxygen absorber. This helps in getting rid of all the oxygen inside the mylar bag. The oxygen in the air is the main culprit why your cereals go stale because it causes oxidation. Once the presence of oxygen is eliminated, you don’t need to worry about the cereal going stale.

Some people prefer to freeze their cereal for a few hours as soon as they bring it home because they believed it is a great way to kills any insect eggs. Thus, prevents any potential pest problems later on, especially if you are stacking it for years, not months.

Another way to store cereals long-term is to vacuum pack the cereal, but in doing this, there is a higher risk that your cereals will be crushed.

Best Mylar Bag For Cereals

TEKUNLIMITED 5 Gallon Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers

With such a large capacity, you can store bulk dry food like rice, cereals, wheat, and grains. This mylar bag is durable wherein oxygen, moisture, heat, and bacteria, which are known enemies of long-time food storage cannot penetrate.

The product is made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate with a thickness of 5 mil, which makes them far stronger and resistant to tears and holes.

It has a strong seal closure, so rest assured the isolation of content inside from the outside world ensures longevity and freshness. It has an airtight feature that can be closed completely with a hot iron or a heat sealer to block oxygen and other unwanted substances from spoiling the content.

No worries, the materials are made from food-grade materials, so they are safe to use.


How Long Can You Store Cereal?

The storage of your cereal will depend mainly on how well you store it.

ConditionsPantryFridge
Unopened1 year
Opened1 month
Airtight container4 to 6 months
Mylar bag/vacuum packedSeveral years
Prepared hot cereal4 to 5 days
Storing Cereal

Well, this timeline is just an estimate.

Many factors can affect your cereals’ shelf-life like the ingredients. Always trust your instinct and do not eat the cereal if you think it is no longer safe to eat.

Does Cereal Go Bad?

Cereal does not go bad in the traditional sense just like bread. It will not go moldy or become unsafe to eat unless it gets wet. Obviously, if you can see any mold then do not eat the cereal.

While cereal should not go stale. Exposure to oxygen and moisture will speed up how quickly cereal goes bad. You will know if the cereal is stale through its taste and texture. If it is not crunchy anymore or tastes a bit off, you should discard it immediately.

Another sign you need to throw the cereal out is if you can see insects crawling in.

Dried foods are a favorite breeding ground for pests like weevils and moths. Whole grain cereals and cereals with nuts are rich in natural fats and oils that can make them rancid. Fats go rancid over time as they oxidize. Though eating rancid cereal is not harmful, it does not taste nice either.

Related Post: 10 Best Weevil-Proof Containers

Is Cereal Safe To Consume After The Expiry Date?

Usually, the date printed on the cereal box will be the best before the date instead of the use-by date. If this is the case, then yes the cereal will be safe to consume after this date; however, it will not taste as good.

The cereal will degrade in quality the longer it is kept. So, if you are unsure whether the printed date is the best before pr use by date, then you could always contact the manufacturer for clarification.

Is Glass Or Plastic Better For Storing Cereal?

Personally, I would always opt for plastic because they are less prone to breakage, unlike glass. Plastic containers are also cheaper. BPA-free plastics are just as safe as glass, so safety will not be an issue between the two containers.

To see if your plastic containers contain BPA, look for the identification number within the recycling symbol (three arrows in the shape of a triangle). The number will be between 1 and 7. For containers that are considered safe for food storage, they have numbers 2, 4, or 5.

Since cereal is eaten and stored cold, you don’t need to worry about the effects of heating the plastic. If you want to be careful, keep the box away from direct sunlight, and wash it with lukewarm water instead of hot water.

On the other hand, glass containers typically last longer. If you are not worried about any accidental breakages, they are an excellent option.

What Are The Things To Look For When Buying Cereal Storage Containers?

Airtight seal

Using an airtight seal container for your cereal can add to the longevity of the product and keeps pests like moths and weevils out. The less contact dry goods expose to air, the fresher they will be. That is why it is important to score containers featuring an airtight seal. The cereal will not go stale and other pantry products will remain fresh.

Usability

Usability should be a priority when shopping for containers. Everyone has experienced the over-pour that happens when the cereal keeper does not have a spout or the canister does not fit on your measuring cup. A wide-mouth container is important, especially when you try to measure out ingredients for baking and cooking. The delivery method of the container should be considered.

Shapes and sizes

Another thing to consider when buying a canister is its capacity. Think about the product you want to store and choose the best container that can replace the original packaging, so nothing gets left behind and goes stale.

Make sure to consider the space. If you have a small counter or pantry area, you need modularity. Square and rectangle containers can stack easily that can save space by stretching up instead of out. What you need will depend on the space you are working with, whether that is a countertop, kitchen cabinet, or pantry.

Materials

Dry food storage containers can be made from three types: glass, hard plastic, or flexible plastic. Each has its pros and cons. Glass containers are durable yet heavy. With this type of container, you can see what’s inside without opening the lid of the container.

Hard plastic containers are ideal for storing dry goods, such as flour, sugar, cereals, and other pantry ingredients. The flexible plastic ones are the least expensive and are usually used mostly on food giveaways.

Easy to wash

Though frequent washing is not highly encouraged for most dry food storage containers, you need to clean them before use and occasionally. The container you should choose must be easy to wash, without intricate crevices, or gaskets that make the process harder. This does not eliminate hand wash-only containers because the cleaning happens not so often.

Best Cereal Storage Container

New OXO Good Grips 8-piece POP Containers Baking Set

OXO has the reputation for quality, affordable products. It is the go-to brand for different kitchen items. Going back, this container has a button design that ensures an airtight closure when pushed and then the set comes with convenient accessories like scoops that attach to the underside of the lid. You don’t have to worry about digging through your canister for a measuring cup.

Moreover, these containers are dishwasher safe and come with handy fill lines for measurement. They are made from sturdy BPA-free plastic materials. The set includes five containers in different sizes with five matching lids, two scoops, and a brown sugar saver.

What I Liked:

  • It is stackable
  • It is made from BPA-free plastic materials

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The gasket on the lid may be difficult to clean

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