Can You Compost Flour?
Who doesn’t like a slice of pizza? We eat pizzas, baked foods, and pastries at home; we love them. They are a good alternative for whole meals. The basic ingredient for making these foods is flour. Flour has been used for preparing different types of cuisines for a long time.
Flour is a powder produced by grinding roots, nuts, beans, seeds, or raw grains. The first production of flour dates back to 6000 BC; wheat seeds were crushed to produce it. However, the first people to develop mills to grind seeds to produce flour were the Romans. It wasn’t until 1779 that the first mill was constructed in London at the beginning of the Industrial Era.
To produce flour in ancient times, the grains were ground using stones and steel wheels. With time, roller mills replaced stone gist mills, and there have been lots of technological developments in flour production. Now, with advanced technology, we can produce different types of flours with ease.
Every day, the production of flour increases because the demand for fast food is on the rise. The number of people ordering pizza increases daily and does not look like it will decline anytime soon. With this, a question arises, is flour harmful to the environment? Can you compost flour? Let us find out!
- Is Flour Compostable?
- Is Flour Good for the Soil?
- Can You Add Old Flour to a Worm Bin?
- Does Flour Decompose?
- 10 Clever Ways To Use Old Flour Around Your Home
Is Flour Compostable?
Flour has become a multi-purpose food ingredient, and it is used in the production of different foods. With the increased demand for flour, different efficient methods of milling flour are developed. As an environmental advocate, you are interested in knowing if flour can be composted as a disposal method.
First, we will look at what compostable items are. They are items that microorganisms can break down; they are prone to decay. After these items decay, they become compost and fertilize the soil.
Yes, flour is compostable. You can put it in the compost bin; it will decay and fertilize the soil. There are more than ten types of flour: all-purpose flour, pastry flour, bread flour, cake flour, whole wheat flour, self-rising flour, white whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten flour, bleached gluten-free flour, and sprouted flour. All these types of flour are compostable.
There are two types of compostable materials, green materials and brown materials. The major difference is that green materials compost faster than brown materials. Flour is a brown material, so it will take a long time for it to compost fully. However, you can speed up the process by adding green components, fruit peels, and vegetables to the compost pile.
To compost flour, you must do the following; otherwise, the flour will take a longer time to compost. First, avoid throwing a bag of flour into the compost pile. It is best to sprinkle it over the pile. Dumping an entire bag will make the flour thicken and block the flow of air in the pile.
Mix the flour well with other materials in the compost pile, ensure you remove every clump and lumps. Also, add green components to the pile to quicken the composting process. Microorganisms and bacteria are more attracted to green components, so adding them to the compost pile speeds up the composting of all the items.
Make sure the flour is dry before you dump it in the compost pile. Wet flour compacts the compost pile and restricts the circulation of airflow that aids the decomposition of the materials. Ensure the flour is not infested with weevil before dumping it in the pile.
Is Flour Good for the Soil?
Many people dispose of old and stale flour by pouring it into their garden. They believe since flour is compostable, it will nourish the soil. Are they right? Is flour good for the soil? Does flour affect the fertility of the soil? We will find out in the next paragraphs.
Of course, flour is good for the soil. We mentioned earlier that flour is compostable, so as long as you follow the procedures and dispose of the flour in the soil properly, it will increase the nutrients and fertility of the soil. However, if you dump the flour on the soil, it will clog the pores of the leaves, and they will die.
Flour contains protein (nitrogen). Nitrogen is found in the soil and plants, and it is essential to plant growth. When there is a low supply of nitrogen in the soil, plants cannot thrive, and there are low crop yields. But, too much nitrogen in the soil is toxic to plants.
You should consider the nitrogen balance of the soil before you dump flour into it. Too much flour in the soil can result in too much nitrogen, which is detrimental to the soil. So, if you want to add nitrogen to any soil, ensure the soil has a low nitrogen supply.
If you see a plant with yellow leaves instead of green during summer, you know the soil is low on nitrogen. Adding some flour can help balance the nitrogen cycle of that soil.
Everything must be balanced; our existence is largely based on the balance of the environment. With too much oxygen, the lung cells can be damaged, and too much carbon dioxide can result in health defects.
Can You Add Old Flour to a Worm Bin?
If you have wondered what a worm bin is and how it works, we will look at it now. A worm bin is a bin with holes for moisture and ventilation. The bin is mostly made of plastic and is elevated off the ground so water can drain out the bottom. A worm bin can be placed indoors or outdoors.
As a person ardent about protecting the environment, you want to know if you can add old flour to a worm bin. Yes, you can add flour to a worm bin, but sparingly. Flour is a good source of iron, protein, and other trace minerals. The worms will find it useful. Ensure you do not add lots of flour to the worm bin.
There is moisture in the bin, so if you add too much flour, it can turn into big lumps that the worms will avoid because it is impenetrable. Flours help in the process of vermicomposting (using worms to convert organic waste into a humus-like material, called vermin-compost).
When adding flour to the worm bin, coat the surface and spray it with water to wet it. When the flour is slightly wet, it will not stick to the worm’s skin, and it is easier for the worms to consume it. When you are preparing the worm bedding, add a cup of flour to the bedding to boost the microbial properties of the worm.
Does Flour Decompose?
If you use flour frequently, you will be bothered about how long flour will remain good before it goes bad. Since there are different types of flour, you should not expect each type to have the same properties. Different processes and materials are what produce the variations of flour.
Of course, flour decomposes. Every food material has a shelf life. Once it has exceeded the specified time, it begins to rot and decompose. Self-rising flour and whole wheat flour begin to decompose after 4 to 6 months. All-purpose flour can last for a year at room temperature and two years in the refrigerator. Other types of flour have a lifespan of 3 to 6 months.
Since flour can decompose, a question should pop into your mind, how do you tell if the flour is bad?
You can tell if the flour is bad by the smell. Fresh flour has a neutral smell, but bad and decomposing flour has a rancid smell. There are oils in the grains used to produce flour, and with time, they degrade and develop a rancid smell. Although the odor can be fairly subtle, you will perceive it.
Another way to tell if the flour is bad is to examine the color and texture. Fresh flour has a smooth texture and a light tan color. On the other hand, decomposing flour has a dark color and forms a mold. You can also taste the flour to ascertain if it is still good. Fresh flour has a nutty taste. Bad flour has a sharp moldy taste.
10 Clever Ways To Use Old Flour Around Your Home
If you have some stale and old flour that is not fit for consumption in your home, you need ways to dispose of it properly. Don’t worry. We got you covered. We will look at ten ways you can use old flour in your home.
1. Insect Repellant
Ants are known to avoid flour. If you see ants coming into your home, you can keep them off by sprinkling a line of flour where you see them entering and exiting. You can also use it to keep aphids off your plants, as well as worms.
Sprinkle the flour on the leaves to keep off aphids. When the worms eat the leaves with the flour, as soon as they are under direct sunlight, they explode, literally.
2. Homemade Glue
You can make glue with old flour, preferably bread flour or all-purpose white flour. To make the glue, you need flour, water, sugar, and alum powder. Start by mixing the sugar and flour; add water while stirring the mixture to prevent lumps.
Cook the mixture over low heat while stirring it till the paste is clear. Remove it from heat and mix it with the alum powder. Store it in a covered glass jar. The alum acts as a preservative. To use it, spread it over a paper with a brush, press the paper to be glued, and smoothen it till the paste dries.
3. Clean A Deck Of Cards
If your cards get grimy after every play, you can use flour to make them clean. Put the cards in a sealable bag and add a few tablespoons of flour into the bag. Shake it well, remove the cards and wipe the flour off with a cloth. It will take off the grime and oil. It also makes the cards easier to shuffle.
4. Dry Shampoo
You can use dry flour as an alternative to shampoo. Apply the flour like a shampoo to wet hair and scrub through your hair. Rinse and repeat the process. You should know that flour does not feel like shampoo, so you might not get the feeling that it is effective. After you are done, use a conditioner.
5. Stainless Steel Cleaner
You can use flour to polish stainless steel. After you have cleaned your appliances and items made of steel, sprinkle some flour on a dry, clean cloth and use it to buff the stainless steel. Your appliances become as good as new.
6. Copper Polisher
If you have copper items at home, you will see how they lose their luster over time. Using a mixture of salt, flour, and vinegar, scrub the copper items, like pans and pots. Leave it to dry. After it dries, polish it with a dry, clean cloth.
7. Face Mask
With the combination of flour, turmeric, and yogurt, you can make a DIY face mask to keep your skin glowing. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to two teaspoons of gram flour. Add three teaspoons of yogurt to the mixture and mix all three well.
Apply the mixture to your face for twenty minutes. After it is dried, rinse it off with warm water. This type of face mask is perfect for people with oily skin.
8. Stain Remover
You can use old and expired flour to get rid of mud, oil, wine, soda, blood, and other stains from any covering. Apply the flour to the stain but don’t rub on it. Leave it to dry for a few minutes to some hours. Clean off the flour by vacuuming or sweeping it.
9. Play Dough
You can use old flour to make play-dough. It is similar to modeling clay, but you cannot use it for baking. Mix two cups of flour, one cup of salt, and two tablespoons of vegetable oil together. Add two cups of warm water to the mixture and stir well. You can add a teaspoon of tartar cream to increase the elasticity. Store it in an airtight container.
10. Get Rid of Pimples
A mixture of flour and honey will help you get rid of acne and pimples. Apply the mixture directly to the pimple, cover it with a band-aid overnight. When you wake in the morning, you’ll notice that the swelling has gone down.
You can use flour for a variety of things besides preparing cuisines. If you have made the mistake of purchasing more flour than you need, there is no need to toss it out. There are different things you can use it to do. We have provided you with some creative ways to dispose of old flour. If you have not been doing it right, now is the time to fix up. Have fun trying out these methods.