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Friday, October 22, 2021

Basic Food Storage--Oats

Oats are a great source of B vitamins, protein, and minerals like calcium and iron. They make a terrific breakfast cereal and can be prepared in a variety of ways. And eating oatmeal 4-6 times per week can reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by nearly 40%.

Before going any further, let's review the different forms oats come in:

Oat groats. These have had the outer hull removed. They basically look like a wheat berry.
Rolled oats, also known as regular oats or old-fashioned oats. These are oat groats that have been steamed and then rolled out, or flattened. They take five minutes to cook.
Quick oats. These are rolled and/or cut thinner so that they cook faster than rolled oats.

Instant oatmeal. These are very thin, precooked oats, that only need hot water or other liquid to be added, and then they're ready to eat.
Steel-cut oats, AKA Scottish oatmeal or Irish oatmeal. These are oat groats sliced by steel blades (shocker, I know) that have a much firmer texture, more like cracked wheat. They take about 20 minutes to cook.
Oat flour. This is made by whirling rolled or quick oats in a blender.The cooking times and water ratios vary slightly depending on the form of oats you are using. For all forms, bring the water to a boil and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, if desired. Add oats, cover, return to boil, and reduce heat to simmer for specified amount of time.

Oat groats. 1 cup oat groats to 3 cups water. Simmer for 30-35 minutes. May also be prepared in a rice cooker. Yield: 3 cups.
Rolled oats. 1 2/3 cups oats to 3 cups water. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Let stand for 3 minutes. Yield: 3 cups.
Quick oats. 1 1/2 cups oats to 3 cups water. Simmer for 1 minute. Let stand for 3 minutes. Yield: 3 cups.
Steel-cut oats. 1 cup oats to 2 1/2 cups water. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Yield: 2 1/2 cups.I don't personally care all that much for oatmeal in any form. But my husband corrupted our children early on and started bringing home the instant flavored packets of oatmeal, probably shortly after he introduced them to the horrors of McDonald's and sugar cereals. Fortunately, the children soon recognized the extreme folly of going to McDonald's for anything more than using the bathroom, and maybe getting a bag of fries. I'm still working on the sugar cereal, but I'm afraid that is a lost cause.

The instant flavored oatmeal is a bit of a compromise; I make it using healthy ingredients we always have on hand, but without putting it into individual packets. It just goes into a large Tupperware so that they can prepare as much or as little as they want. I wrote the recipe for making a big batch with a few flavor options here.

However, sometimes we adults have a more refined palate, need a change of pace, or just don't have room in the cabinets for eight different flavors of oatmeal. In toodling around the web the other day, I found myself at The Yummy Life and their terrific suggestions for some instant oatmeal individual packets.

I've adapted Monica's basic recipe a bit to be prepper-friendly; I know chia seeds and oat and wheat bran are super healthy, but I don't foresee a lot of either being stored in any great quantities. If you've got them and want to add a teaspoon of each to your oatmeal packets, go for it.

Plain Instant Oatmeal
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon dry milk
1 tablespoon sugar (brown sugar is good, too)
pinch of salt

To prepare: Pour contents of oatmeal packet into a mug or bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water, stir, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Flavor variations:
Apple-Cinnamon--Add 2 tablespoons dried or 1/4 cup freeze-dried apples and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Apricot-Ginger--Add 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots and 1/4 teaspoon ginger.
Blueberry--Add 2 tablespoons dried or 1/4 cup freeze-dried blueberries.
Cranberry-Walnut--Add 2 tablespoons dried cranberries and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.
Peanut Butter-Banana--Add 1 tablespoon peanut butter powder and 1/4 cup chopped freeze-dried bananas.
Pineapple-Coconut--Add 2 tablespoons dehydrated pineapple and 1 tablespoon coconut.
Raspberry--Add 1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberries.
Strawberry-Banana--Add 2 tablespoons each freeze-dried strawberries and bananas.

For the original recipes, go to:

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