How To Store Oatmeal Long-Term
It is always best to be prepared for any type of emergency, and proper food storage not only prepares you for natural disasters or financial hardships, but also makes your food (and therefore your dollar) last longer and go farther.
Why Store Oats?
Oats are amazing food for storage for many reasons. They last a long time, have a variety of uses and are inexpensive and easy to store.
When stored properly, oats can last up to 30 years! You don’t need a lot of other ingredients to prepare oats; just add water and heat.
Oats are clean, and high in fiber and protein. Many long-term storage foods require a great deal of salt or other preservatives, but oats don’t require any additives to stay fresh.
You can use oats in many different ways, including grinding them up into a flour for cooking. You can make other foods stretch farther by adding oats, especially meats.
Adding oats to ground meat makes it bulkier and more filling, and gives you larger servings. You can even use oats to feed your livestock or pets.
How to Store Oats Long-term
Select your oats
The first step to storing oats is selecting the best kind of oats for long-term storage. Instant oats can be stored, but be careful to note any expiration dates and any other added ingredients for flavoring that may expire more quickly.
Organic oats are a great choice because that way you are only storing pure, fresh oats, minus any nasty pesticides. Rolled oats will last longer than steel cut oats. You can store any oats but organic rolled oats are your best option for long-term storage.
It’s fine to keep oats in the container you purchase them in for storage in your pantry or for regular use, but store packaging is not the best option for long-term food storage.
You will need food-grade storage buckets, food storage bags, a vacuum or heat sealer, and oxygen absorbers.
Be careful when selecting oxygen absorbers, as there are different types available for dry or moist goods. For oats you want to be sure to select oxygen absorbers for dry goods. Mylar bags are best because it also offers protection from light and moisture rather than just air.
You can purchase 5 gallon buckets at most hardware stores, but just be sure they are food grade (this helps prevent any harmful chemicals from seeping into your food and assures that the containers will keep air and moisture out).
Select your space
You will need a cool, dry, and dark space are for optimal storage. The ideal temperature for storing oats is around 65° Fahrenheit. This could be a pantry, a basement, or spare room; just make sure that you choose a space where you can easily control and monitor the levels of light, heat, and moisture.
Pack your oats
Now that you have everything prepared, it’s time to pack your oats for storage! First, take a Mylar bag and place it in a bucket. Fill the bag with oats.
Add oxygen absorbers (be careful to sift through and remove these when you consume the oats; you don’t want to accidentally cook and ingest the oxygen absorbers) according to the directions on the packaging for the amount of oats you are storing.
Squeeze the air out of the bag, then use a vacuum sealer or heat sealer to suck out the rest of the air and seal the bag.
At this point, you can trim the top off of the mylar bag if you want to, but it is not necessary.
You may want to practice using the heat sealer in advance if you are not used to working with one, since you will want to work fast to avoid exposing the oxygen absorbers to air for too long and reduce their efficacy.
Use a rubber mallet to seal the lid onto the bucket.
Place your oats in the storage space
Move the bucket into your predetermined cool, dark, dry storage space. Depending on the type of oats you stored, you may be able to keep them for up to 30 years.
If you store the oats in a mylar bag alone without the bucket, they can last up to 15 years.
And voila! Now you know everything you need to properly and safely store dry oats.