If someone asked me about the core foods I store for my food storage, oats would be in the top ten. I like to store them in various forms to have more versatility, but that is certainly not a necessity for everyone. I want to keep my options open in my food storage which means I have food ready to eat quickly while also having from-scratch ingredients. Right now, in my food storage, I have oats stored as:
– Steel-cut oats
– Rolled oats
– Quick-cooking (instant) oats
– Oatmeal packets
– Oat flour
– Oat groats
I try only to purchase gluten-free oats, but that is not always an economical option. I will explain the difference before anyone can say that oats are a naturally gluten-free product. Oats are a gluten-free product, but they are sometimes processed in places where wheat is also processed. If the same machines are used for both products, the oats will be “contaminated” and not considered gluten-free. Since I try to keep gluten-free options in my home, I make sure the oats I purchase are processed in wheat-free factories.
Why do I believe in storing oats? They are a simple, whole food. I like food that is not fussy or fancy so oats make the list. My food storage has a lot of variety, but the overall feeling is that you can make anything from what I have on hand. I like to keep simple ingredients on hand to keep everyone fed. Oats do that in my food storage.
Why should you store oats? Let me give you seven reasons to add them to your food storage:
1. Versatility. Oats can be used in many ways in food. They are known as a breakfast food, but they can be used heavily in baking. They can also be used to stretch ground meats in meals. Rolled and quick-cooking oats can be ground down for flour using a blender or a food processor. That flour can be used the same as all-purpose flour in many recipes. You can make it into granola or granola bars for an easy snack. Oatmeal can be made in many different ways with different flavors to suit everyone in your family.
2. Easy to store. Oats are incredibly easy to store. I prefer sealed buckets, but they can also be stored in other ways, such as glass jars, mylar bags/oxygen absorbers, and vacuum-sealed bags.
3. Long-term food storage. Oats are considered non-perishable, which is excellent for your long-term food storage. In their original packaging, they can last for 18-24 months. If you store them in mylar bags or vacuum-sealed bags, they will last longer. I recently opened some bags of oats that I purchased in 2013 and was sealed in mylar bags. The quality was still great and I did not notice any deterioration in the product.
4. Frugal meals/substitutions. Oats are generally cheap to purchase and make a frugal meal or addition to a recipe. When my kids were younger, I would make MYO Oatmeal Packets to save even more money. You can get a great bang for your buck even with the prices going up on food.
5. Non-food uses. Oats can be used to alleviate itching and calm your skin. They can be used to clean and exfoliate your skin. They can be used in place of baking soda to absorb odors in the refrigerator. They can also be used to absorb extra fluids like spilled cooking oil.
6. Health. Oats are generally healthy for you to eat. They can help you feel fuller after a meal. They can help manage your blood sugar levels, however, you need to be careful about how much sugar you are adding. They have also been shown to lower your bad cholesterol numbers.
7. Animal feed. I would also consider storing oats for animal feed, especially if you have poultry for livestock. Most poultry (and other livestock) can eat oats without issue. You can purchase oats from your local feed store and store them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers in buckets for long-term storage.
I hope you have chosen to store this basic food in your food storage for the many reasons above. Keeping a basic, versatile food stockpile is important as you will want variety and options in the tougher times that we face today.
Thanks for reading,