I had never met a weevil until I moved to Dubai. I was completely confused on how these tiny little bugs can find their way into airtight jars and snap locked storage tubs. After researching online about three years ago, I discovered some interesting information about these pesky bugs and more importantly, some useful tips on how to ensure they don’t munch their way through my store cupboard ingredients before I do
Where do they come from? You may be surprised to find out that weevils hatch from eggs that are already in the food. They exist in the factories and the food production processes. It doesn’t matter where the food has been made, these little mites are as natural as the bugs that live on your eyelashes.
The reason why they are more apparent in hotter countries is that the heat encourages them to hatch out their eggs earlier than in colder climates. Manufacturers do not normally expect them to hatch before the best before date or consumption time period so it’s not usually an issue. Unless you live in 30-50 degree heat, that is.
I have found them in every type of ambient food I have. From stock cubes to muesli, rice cakes to herbs, usually at the most inconvenient time like prepping for a dinner party. So, now you are feeling nauseous about your noodles here’s how you can be less fearful of your flour!
There is only one way to ensure the food you buy is weevil free and that is to freeze it. Yes, you can literally freeze those un-hatched blighter eggs to death, possibly a little morbid but highly effective. You need make sure that the product you buy is frozen for long enough, which is a minimum of a week.
In our house every purchase of dry, ambient food from sugar to biscuits, rice, flour and chia seeds are frozen for at least a week before going into the cupboard. Surprisingly, I have yet to find an unopened product affected by this process. Some items like stock cubes and dried mushrooms now sit permanently in the freezer door. I just use them straight from frozen.
The other way to minimise the damage is to ensure that nothing in your cupboards is left open. That includes cereal, crisps, rice cakes and gravy granules. Once out the freezer transfer immediately to an airtight container.
Finally, clean out your cupboards once a month and check every item just incase something or someone has slipped something by you. This may sound a little extreme but once they’re there they can spread fast, working their way to food you may have already freeze treated.
Without wanting to preach, good kitchen habits will save you money (you’ll throw out less damaged food) as well as ensure your cupboards remain hygienic and well organized.