I recently got a really good deal on some bulk pellet hops (several pounds). What is the best way to store them? I've heard that they should be vacuum sealed and put in the freezer. Will they be OK for 6-9 months if I store them in a zip-lock bag without being vacuum sealed?
I've also started growing my own hops in the backyard. I don't get much yet, but I'm anticipating the yield increasing over the next few years. Do the same storage rules apply to dried whole hops?
I'm not sure whether the vacuum seal is required, but they definitely need to be stored in the freezer. I had a few ounces of whole leaf hops leftover from a batch that I accidentally put back in the fridge rather than the freezer. When I went to take them out a few weeks later, they had liquefied into a brown, disgusting goo.
The absolute best way is to vacuum seal them in oxygen barrier bags and keep them in the freezer. They'll keep for years like that. But as the others have said, even without the vac seal they will stay good in the freezer for months.