Which Oatmeal Should I Buy?

Oats are an incredibly versatile and valuable whole grain like wheat, barley, rye, and corn. Like all whole grains, oats have three major parts:

BRAN: a protective outer covering which is a mostly inedible but rich in fiber which the seed used to nourish itself until it germinates and sprouts. Most oatmeal purchased in stores have the bran removed.

ENDOSPERM: the largest portion of the seed the provides the energy the germ needs to grow and sprout and gives the grain its starchy texture. The oat endosperm contains no gluten but is grown and processed parallel with other grains to such an extent gluten may be present in the final product.

GERM: a small nutrient packed portion of the grain that is essentially the baby plant which will germinates and sprout.

When purchasing oatmeal there are really three major considerations: nutrition, cooking/preparation time, and shelf-life. Generally, grains which have undergone less processing will retain more nutrition and have a longer shelf-life, but will take longer to prepare. At the Ready Store, we carry the most common products of oat grain: regular oats and quick oats.

Quick oats and Regular oats will have virtually the same nutritional value, but quick oats have usually been steamed or wetted before being rolled, cut, and partially cooked. This reduces the cooking/preparation time significantly, which is a valuable attribute for emergency situations, but the shelf-life is slightly reduced and regular oats will retain a more appealing texture and flavor than quick oats. So, if you want shelf-life and flavor then regular oats is the way to go. If you are more concerned with convenience and ease of cooking/preparation during a disaster, then quick oats is the solution for you.

The longest shelf-life of 20+ years and most nutrition would be gained from purchasing whole oat grains, but they require much more preparation time and equipment such as a grain mill or grain roller/flaker. Instant oats will give you the fastest preparation time at 1 minute, but the shelf-life is significantly reduced to 2 years which makes them a less valuable candidate for long-term food storage.

Below is a list of the most of the common oat products with details about each... Hope this helps you and your family make wise and educated decisions regarding your food storage and emergency preparedness.

WHOLE-GRAIN OATS
• Names: whole-grain oatmeal
• Contains: Bran, Endosperm, Germ
• Uses: Hot Oatmeal & Oatmeal Porridge, Baking
• Processing: None
• Preparation: Grind, Roll/Flake
• Cooking Time: 80-120 Minutes
• Advantages: Longest Shelf-Life, Better Taste and Texture, More Nutritious
• Shelf Life: 20+ Years

OAT GROATS

• Names: whole oats, whole oat groats
• Contains: Endosperm, Germ
• Processing: Bran Removed
• Uses: Hot Oatmeal Oatmeal Breakfast Cereal, Baking
• Preparation: Boil/Steam
• Cook Time: 60-80 Minutes
• Advantages: Longer Shelf-Life, Better Taste and Texture
• Shelf Life: 15-20 Years

STEEL CUT OATS

• Names: Irish oats, Scotch oats, pinhead oats, coarse-cut oats, steel-cut oatmeal, Irish oatmeal, Scotch oatmeal, pinhead oatmeal, coarse-cut oatmeal, porridge oats, porridge oatmeal
• Contains: Endosperm, Germ
• Processing: Bran Removed, Cut
• Uses: Oatmeal Porridge Breakfast Cereal, Baking
• Preparation: Boil
• Cook Time: 30-40 Minutes
• Advantages: Longer Shelf-Life, Better Taste and Texture
• Shelf Life: 15-20 Years

REGULAR OATS

• Names: rolled oats, oatmeal, rolled oatmeal, old-fashioned oats, old-fashioned oatmeal, flaked oats, flaked oatmeal, oatflakes
• Contains: Endosperm, Germ
• Processing: Bran Removed, Rolled/Flaked
• Uses: Hot Oatmeal Breakfast Cereal, Baking
• Preparation: Boil
• Cook Time: 5-10 Minutes
• Advantages: Longer Shelf-Life, Better Taste and Texture than Quick Oats
• Shelf Life: 15-20 Years

QUICK OATS

• Names: quick-cooking oats, quick oatmeal, quick-cooking oatmeal, easy oats
• Contains: Endosperm, Germ
• Processing: Bran Removed, Steamed, Rolled/Flaked, Cut, Partially Pre-Cooked
• Uses: Hot Oatmeal Breakfast Cereal, Baking
• Preparation: Boil
• Cook Time: 3 Minutes
• Advantages: Longer Shelf-Life, Faster Cook-Time Than Regular Oats
• Shelf Life: 10-15 Years

INSTANT OATS

Names: instant oatmeal
• Contains: Endosperm, Germ
• Processing: Bran Removed, Steamed, Rolled/Flaked, Cut, Fully Pre-Cooked, Sweetener and/or Preservative Added
• Uses: Hot Oatmeal Breakfast Cereal
• Preparation: Add Hot Water
• Cook Time: 1 Minute
• Advantages: Longer Shelf-Life, Fastest Cook-Time
• Shelf Life: 2 Years

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4 thoughts on “Which Oatmeal Should I Buy?”

  • mike

    If you vacum pack oatmeal will it last longer than two years?

    Reply
  • Janel

    Can you preserve oatmeal in 5-gallon buckets using dry ice?

    Reply
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  • PHYLLIS CONRAD
    PHYLLIS CONRAD March 14, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I am searching for Seneca fully cooked oatmeal in microwave safe containers. it comes in vanilla, peach, or cinnamon apple flavors live in Kankakee, IL. I want to find store in area I live 60 miles south of Chicago, Il. It is a perfect product for single older people living alone. if it is still available let me know thank you.

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