What’s Inside: This article provides information on how to store oatmeal long-term. It includes the shelf life of oatmeal and the best methods to store it. It also includes information on the right type of oatmeal for long- term storage. Finally, it concludes with a list of references, resources and related articles.
Many preppers need to find ways to store food long-term without relying on modern storage methods that require electricity. Different foods have varying shelf lives and require various storage methods to extend their shelf life. Oatmeal is a common food staple that many people want to store. The question is, “what is the best way to store oatmeal long-term?”
Storing oatmeal long-term can be achieved by using a combination of mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to remove oxygen and extend the oats’ shelf life. You can also use mylar bags and mason jars to vacuum-seal the oats for an even longer lifespan. Oats stored in this way can last 25 years or more.
We will explore different methods of how to store oatmeal long-term to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. Spoiler alert: not all oats can be stored the same way! Choosing the right oats and packaging method can significantly extend the shelf life of your oats.
- Choose the right kind of oats – Rolled oats (also known as “old-fashioned oats”) are best. Quick oats are the worst.
- To prevent infestation of weevils, freeze oats in original packaging for 36-48 hours before storing.
- Store oats vacuum sealed or with oxygen absorbers, in mylar bags or in mason jars.
- When stored properly, oats can last for up to 25 years in your pantry!
Long-Term Oatmeal Storage
This article includes affiliate links.
Oatmeal has become a staple breakfast food for many people due to its numerous health benefits and versatility in cooking. Not only are oats a great source of fiber, protein, and various nutrients, but they are also low in fat and calories.
However, like most grains, oatmeal can go bad if not stored properly. This is wasteful and will cost you money in the long run.
What is the Shelf Life of Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is considered dry goods, and as such, it has a fairly good shelf life in store-bought packaging. Many people say they have been able to store store-bought packaged oatmeal for up to a year. However, in my experience, this untreated oatmeal shelf life is optimistic.
I have tried to store oatmeal long-term in its standard unopened packaging. Invariably after several months, when I open the package, I find the oats are invested with weevils.
This is because the eggs of the weevils are on the oats when harvested, and the processing and packaging process does not remove or kill the weevil eggs.
After a few months, the eggs hatch in the unopened packing, and the oatmeal becomes infested with beetles and becomes inedible.
In my experience, the only way to successfully store the oatmeal in its original packaging is to freeze the oatmeal for up to 48 – 36 hours to kill the weevil or other insect eggs.
Suffice it to say there are better means for storing oatmeal long-term, which we will explore.
Choosing The Right Type of Oats for Long-Term Storage
When it comes to long-term oatmeal storage, you can’t store all types of oats for the same length of time.
Some types of oatmeal may have a longer shelf life than others, while others may be more difficult to store.
- Rolled oats. Rolled oats, also known as “old-fashioned oats” are the most popular type of oatmeal . They are often used in recipes for oatmeal cookies, granola bars, and other baked goods. Rolled oats have a longer shelf life compared to other types of oatmeal, making them an excellent choice for long-term storage.
- Steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oats, have a chewier texture and a nutty flavor. Unlike rolled oats, they are not flattened and take longer to cook. Steel-cut oats have a shorter shelf life than rolled oats but can still be stored long-term in the right conditions.
- Quick oats or instant oats. Quick oats are the most processed oatmeal and are often used in instant oatmeal packets. They are flattened even more than rolled oats, making them cook faster. Quick oats have a shorter shelf life than rolled oats and are not the best option for long-term storage.
When choosing the right type of oatmeal for long-term storage, old-fashioned, rolled oats are typically the best choice. They have a longer shelf life, are easy to store, and you can use them in various recipes.
You can store steel-cut oats long-term, but they require more effort to store correctly. Quick oats are only suitable for short-term storage, such as in emergency food packs that you will cycle out every three months.
Best Methods to Store Oatmeal Long-Term
Several factors increase oatmeal shelf life and extend the amount of time you can safely store this highly nutritious food.
One key aspect is knowing how to prepare oats for long-term storage. My go-to method to prepare oats for storage, is to freeze the oats in their original packaging for between 48 and 36 hours. I do this on any oats I plan to store.
The freezing process kills any insect eggs present in the oats and prevents them from hatching.
Some of the storage methods I mention will also do this, but I like to take the precaution of freezing the oats just to be sure.
Removing the air, or at least the oxygen, when packaging your oats and storing the oats in an airtight container is the key to making your oats last in storage for 10 or more years.
Store Oatmeal in Mylar Bags
One of my favorite methods of storing oats is in mylar bags (Amazon). It is quick and easy, and if you are careful when you open the mylar bags, they are reusable.
My process for storing oatmeal long-term in mylar bags is to freeze the oats first to kill off any bugs. When you take the oats from the freezer, give them 20 or 30 minutes to come to room temperature before packing it in the mylar bags. This will reduce the risk of condensation on the inside of the bags.
I then fill the mylar bags with oats, leaving a headspace at the top of the bag of about 3 inches. Seal the mylar bag two-thirds across the top, using a hot iron or a flat hair iron.
Before you seal the bag the rest of the way, place an appropriately sized oxygen absorber (Amazon) in the top of the bag.
After you’ve sealed the mylar bags, the best practice is to store them in an airtight container such as a tote or 5-gallon bucket (Amazon) with a sealable lid to protect them from rodents.
I prefer to store multiple smaller bags of oats in a large bucket to prevent a single large bag of oats from spoiling and losing the entire batch.
You can store oats using this method for up to 20 years or more!
Vacuum Pack Oatmeal for Long-Term Storage
Vacuum packing, using a vacuum sealer (Amazon) is another extremely effective method of storing oats long term since all the air is removed from the bag.
You can use mylar bags as vacuum seal bags and they work well for this method. Using oxygen absorbers for this method is unnecessary since there is no air in the packaging.
Store your vacuum-packed oats in airtight containers to prevent rodents and other critters from destroying your oats.
How long will vacuum-sealed oats last? As long as the integrity of the packaging lasts to retain the vacuum, oats stored in this way can last up to 25 years or more.
How To Store Oatmeal Long Term in Mason Jars
Another method I have used for storing oatmeal to extend its shelf life is in mason jars (Amazon). You can implement two methods with mason jars to store the oats.
The first method is to fill the mason jar with oats till it is just below the neck of the jar. Place an oxygen absorber on top of the oats and seal the jar, ensuring an airtight seal is achieved.
The second method, and the one I prefer using, is to fill the mason jar with oats and use a FoodSaver attachment on the mason jar to extract the air and create a vacuum inside the jar. Note that in addition to the FoodSaver mason jar attachment, you need either a countertop FoodSaver, such as this one, or a handheld FoodSaver, such as this one. All of those are available on Amazon. I actually prefer the countertop FoodSaver, but if I’m only vacuum sealing a jar or two, I grab the handheld one, since it’s always on my kitchen counter.
This method removes the air and extends the shelf life of the oats in the mason jar for 25 years or more, depending on the storage conditions.
Proper oatmeal storage is essential for extending its shelf life and storing nutritious staple food for future use. Choosing the right type of oatmeal and the right packaging method before storing it in a cool, dry place in an airtight container can help prevent spoilage and insect contamination.
By implementing one of these methods, you can store oatmeal long-term and use it in various ways without compromising its quality or nutritional value. So go ahead and stock up on oatmeal, knowing that you can enjoy its benefits for months, years, or even decades to come.
Other Food Storage Articles
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll likely enjoy these related articles: