I refrigerate it, of course. And I buy finely ground white, medium grind yellow and polenta. Thanks so much, PicklePals. ;o)
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
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Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, and assuming it was fresh in the store, I'd give it a good 6 months or longer. But I seldom have my cornmeal around long enough for it to think about going stale, so I'm not necessarily a good judge.
Hi AJ - Go to http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/ffp/crg/fscornmeal.htm It says cornmeal can last a year. And if it is put in the freezer it can last much longer.
Sam is a trusted home cook.
It lasts much longer than you'd think. I would say even 6 months is short changing it.
Remember, it was a staple in homes for ages to last through the winter and a storage item.
Just watch out for pantry moths. Those little buggers are a pest here in the south, they hitchhike in on bulk items like basmati rice and other bulk grains. And laugh at paper or plastic bags.
So I keep mine in a heavy glass jar. Or small portions in canning jars vac sealed with a food saver.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
In the Bay Area, AntoniaJames, heat won't be your enemy, but to guard against moisture, I'd suggest transferring it to a ziplock bag. Squeeze out the just before your seal the last of it. I agree with Sam1148 - it will last just fine. Alternatively, now that you have it on hand, maybe toss a handful or two into a batch of your lovely potato bread. I add polenta (uncooked) to bread all the time - lovely dash of color and nice subtle crunch.
Missing word in the 2nd sentence: air. Hope that makes more sense.
One application for cornmeal. For cheap...mid week meal. Is using it as a coating, a dusting' for chicken cuttlets or fish, to make a nice crust. (Wondra Flour with mixed with corn meal is great! for that). Use it as a pantry item. It's versatile.
Cornmeal can be turned into polenta. (or grits) the old joke goes "What's the diffrence between polenta and grits? About 7 bucks a plate".
Just to be difficult, I'll add that -- commited to bulk foods as I am -- I don't buy flour in bulk. I think that the oxidation risk is significant, as well as light exposure, because the grains that it was made from have nice sturdy coats to protect them, but when ground they are naked and vulnerable. I usually buy 10 # bags, get the price advantage, and know that it was packed when and where it was ground and protected by a sturdy paper bag. I keep flours in a cool place and find they keep quite well. When amounts are small I also favor the zip locks for the fridge or freezer; for the pantry, glass jars or facsimile. Even here in NH were have grain moths, summer, humidity... and mice, who can chew into bags (we always learn these things the hard way).