If you are just getting started with grains, make sure to go to our Step 5: Grains page and just follow our recommendations there. However, if you already have a start on your grain storage you may want to explore some of our Beyond the BabySteps posts which go into more details about specific grains. Today we are going to cover one of our favorite grains … oats! Oats are one of the grains listed in most food storage calculators and we definitely recommend storing them.
Types of Oats:
For long term food storage purposes you should consider storing one of three varieties of oats:
- Steel Cut Oats – This variety is often sold in bulk, in #10 cans, and in emergency preparedness stores. These are oat groats which have been cut into chunks with steel blades. They’re not rolled and look like coarse bits of grain.
- Rolled Oats – This variety is your typical grocery store variety. Rolled Oats are made by steaming oat groats and then rolling them flat. They take longer to cook than quick cooking oats, but retain more flavor and nutrition.
- Quick Cooking Rolled Oats – Quick cooking rolled oats are not to be confused with “instant oatmeal” where you just add water and microwave. They are simply rolled oats that have been rolled a little bit flatter to reduce the cooking time.
- Oat Groats – Oat groats are the grains that are used to make steel, rolled and quick oats. They look kind of like wheat and can be crushed with a grain flaker, or can be ground in a grain mill to make flour. Storing oat groats may not be as efficient as storing the other options.
Health Benefits of Oats:
Oats are considered a “whole grain” because both rolled and cut oats retain their bran and their germ. Whole grains are recommended to be at least 50% of your daily grain intake due to their benefit to cardiovascular health, weight management, and other nutritional advantages.
Uses of Oats:
Oats are not just for oatmeal! Oats can make DELICIOUS oatmeal cookies, homemade granola bars, topping for a fruit dessert, pancakes, etc. It can also be used as filler for meat dishes (my meatloaf recipe calls for oats) and can even be sprouted if you have some unhulled (or whole) oats in your storage.
So pick up some oats from the grocery store, try using them in some new recipes, especially those that use all shelf-stable ingredients, and then start stocking up!