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Oats and Oatmeal

Great benefits to storing and eating Oats, its the grain that does it all. Store at least 25 pounds of Oatmeal per person.

If you want to make your doctor happy, make sure you stock up on oatmeal for your long term food storage! The benefits of eating oatmeal on a daily basis have long been impressed upon us. Whether we want to increase the fiber in our diet or lower our cholesterol, oatmeal seems to be the "go to" grain that does it all. So it seems only right that we respect the health benefits it can give us by including it in our home food storage.

An adult male needs approximately 300 pounds of grains to sustain life for a year. (Keep in mind this is just grains, this does not include proteins, fats, sugars, etc.) Of these 300 pounds of grains, almost 25 pounds of it should be oatmeal. More if we actually like eating it! I am of the philosophy that "more" is always better when it comes to food storage that my family enjoys eating.

Oatmeal is oatmeal is oatmeal. There are not a lot of varieties in regular oatmeal like you'll find in other grains. The main difference that crops up is in the manner in which it is processed before reaching the consumer.

Instant oatmeal is rolled oats that have been ground up more than the other types, which makes it quicker to cook. Kids seem to really enjoy all the pre-packaged instant oatmeal that's available because it's very sweet and come in a variety of flavors. This type of oatmeal does not store as well as rolled oats.

Rolled oats is the basic type of oatmeal we see on shelves. They are exactly what they sound like. They are whole oats that have been rolled flat. We use rolled oats in baking breads and cookies quite often.

Steel-cut oats are different than rolled oats because they have been cut, rather than rolled. This gives them a different texture and look than rolled oats. Their flavor is somewhat nuttier and chewier than rolled or instant oats. Nutritional value is about the same in all of them, so pick which one you like the best.

Oatmeal stores best in cool conditions. For long term storage they should be sealed in airtight containers, such as #10 food grade enamel lined cans or buckets with a Mylar lining that will give them an airtight seal. Food stored like this will last up to 30 years, just remember to use your oxygen absorbers and make sure the seal is airtight. The temperature for all your grain storage is the cooler the better. It should be no hotter than 75 F and no cooler than 40 F.

Quick tip: If you store the regular oatmeal and want to turn it into the instant, just blend it a few minutes in a food processor and it breaks down enough that you can cook it just like you would the instant kind. For children, you could then even bag it into individual servings and they could then make their own oatmeal when you're too rushed to do it yourself. (Regular oatmeal will store better long term than instant). Also, a little bit of dehydrated fruit goes along way in making oatmeal cereal more palatable for picky eaters.