Author Topic: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?  (Read 1472 times)

Offline Otis

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Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« on: October 18, 2013, 04:56:04 PM »
So I've read about the benefits of steel cut oats vs. instant oats for long term storage.  Obviously the vitamin & energy content of non-instant oatmeal would be better for sustenance.  What would be some reasons to buy/store instant oats instead (outside of convenience)?

BTW, oatmeal does store well for years, correct?

Thanks in advance for any replies!

Otis


Offline Oil Lady

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 07:02:51 PM »
I've stored it for years even before I was a prepper. It does keep pretty well.

The nutrition factor is a huge consideration in my book: instant oats have had the oat groat popped out of them, and MOST of the nutrition is in that groat. So if part of your priority is storing foods of very high nutrient density, instant oats are NOT the way to go.

Instant cooks more quickly, and is not as course in your mouth as whole oats. Little kids generally like instant better, especially when it's dressed up with maple syrup or brown sugar or raisins, etc.

Just make sure it remains dry dry dry dry DRY!!!! Oats LOVE moisture! I was once told by someone (I don't know where they got this tale from, so it might or might not be true) about a wooden cargo ship from a few centuries back which was loaded with a shipment of oats (packaged in sacks, I was told). Bilge water seeped into the cargo hold, the sacks of oats sopped it all up in mere seconds, the crew was unable to get the suddenly-heavy sacks of oats out of the hold fast enough to throw them overboard, and so the ship quickly sank under the sheer weight of the water-logged sacks of oats. Any grain likes water, but oats suck it in very rapidly and effortlessly, expanding to (something like) twice their size and five times their weight once they get wet. So if a dry sack weighs 50 lbs, a wet sack will weigh (something like) 250.

And be careful of those instant oat packages with flavors and berries and raisins and sugars all mixed in with them. Some of those might not store as well or as long (your mileage may vary).
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Offline OutWestTX

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 08:46:44 PM »
I store both.  My daughter will only eat instant oatmeal for breakfast.  Kinda like Glen Tate's son will only eat pancakes.  I have large quantities of instant oatmeal vacuum packed and ready to go. 
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 08:55:13 PM »
I have both, as I get lots of packets from gleaners. I use/pack them for camping trips and BOB's. Bulk oatmeal goes into the 'general population' of my pantry in storage buckets. SP eats alot of bulk oatmeal around here.

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Offline Crazy Fox

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2013, 09:22:45 AM »
I'd personally choose the non-instant variety. That's the kind I use for most things (cookies, beer bread, breakfast) and I like the texture better than that of the instant oatmeal.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 10:47:03 AM »
Oatmeal in little packages from the store are not true "long term" although they will generally last longer than their expiration date shows.

A little oat background helps to understand how to store it:

While feed oats are left in their hull and may be "crimped" for ease of digestion, any oat kernel will begin to break down within a few days if the germ is exposed to air.  Whole oats keep longer than crImped.  Neither do well past one season because the germ is loaded with oil.  Next to corn, oats have about the highest lipid content of any commercial grain.  Remember, fats will not store well long term unless frozen or stabilized.

Oats for human consumption are hulled then "kilned" to stabilize by evaporation the oils.  The remaining groats are sorted into sizes; whole, coarse, medium, fine.  These pieces are what's referred to as "steel cut."  They may be rolled flat or ground into flour.  Depending on the piece size going into the roller, they may become "instant" (smallest pieces), "quick" or "baby" (medium pieces), and "regular rolled" (larger pieces).  Smaller, thinner, flakes cook faster.  While the germ is not intentionally removed, the smallest pieces that broke off in processing (which become the instant) inherently contain less germ.

Bottom line, regular rolled oats are healthier but slightly harder to store.  All rolled oats should be kept oxygen and moisture free, and stored cool. 

Mine are bucketed in CO2  (which is naturally anhydrous) with silica gel desiccant packets.  I have both regular and quick oats buckets, plus some steel cut in cans.  I expect to see the shortest shelf life from the steel cut groats due to the higher lipid content.  Rolled and quick make sense to store because they keep well and cook quickly.  Energy availability to cook with could be a factor unless you are in cold country using the same heat source to cook and heat with (ie: woodstove).

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Offline r_w

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 11:18:02 AM »
I buy only groats now.  NOT because of the storage, but because of the TASTE.  Freshly rolled just taste SO much better--just like fresh ground coffee.  My 4 YO can run the crimper and it is her "chore" to crimp the oats for the next day. 

As to the energy to cook--look into soaked oatmeal (WAP-style), it both increases nutrition and reduces fuel consumption.  If you don't like that, you can haybox oatmeal (bring it to a boil, then pull it off the heat and cover the pan with a wool blanket or hay to insulate while it sets). 


Offline Bactereality

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 09:22:55 PM »
Just recently I put up around 20 quart jars of Old fashioned rolled oats. Afterwards, I realized I should be using desiccant packages. I've only been canning for 3 months now. I've done boiling water, pressure, and dry canning. (my main being dry canning due to a glasstop stove) My main hang up is being too lazy/busy to order O2 absorbers and desiccant bags. Instead, I've been using handwarmers I've bought on sale for dry goods. How badly is the shelf life of oatmeal affected by a lack of desiccant bags when it was stored dry in low humidity weather with the o2 absorbing handwarmers?
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Oatmeal for long term storage - instant or not?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2013, 09:30:47 PM »
When I lived on low humidity, I just dumped it into my bins and it was good for 2 years with nothing special done with it. I generally rotate and so I don't usually have anything much past that age. With your handwarmers, they will be at least two years in my thinking.

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