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“What is in that big box, Dad. Is it a toy!”
The rectangular box arrives unmarked and stands about 3 feet tall and two feet wide. It sure looks like something awesome. Had I seen a box like this come to my home I would have been excited, too!
Unfortunately, for Carter and Jacob, this box is full of something that would only excite a prepper or survivalist. It’s from Augason Farms. I am talking about 20lbs of quick rolled oats in a 6-gallon pail. This is long term food storage.
These are the purchases that help fathers like me sleep at night. 160 calories per serving. Breakfast for months in a worst case scenario and apparently, I am not the only one who stacks them.
Right now they are sold out at the Augason Farms website.
Quick rolled oats are an important part of our food storage plan and should be a part of yours, too!
Why Store Oats?
The first time I bought oats it was purely budgetary. They are one of the most cost-effective foods you can buy on the food storage market. Most of my food storage is packed by me but sometimes I spend money on some meals or some pre-packed grains like oats and lentils.
A 10lb pail of rolled oats can be had for around $40 and is around 17,000 calories. If you keep plenty of cinnamon and sugar on hand you have a serious answer for granola and breakfast and even cereal if you so desire it. Oats are also great baked into breads.
Oats are cheap and easy to cook that is why they have made it into our food storage plan.
From a nutrition standpoint oats are a complex carbohydrate and I should probably be eating more of them for breakfast now! This simply means they take longer for your body to breakdown and offer up a stream of consistent energy.
Something like a bowl of Lucky Charms, for example, is a processed simple carbohydrate source. It hits you with a massive dump of sugar that your body has to fight to process and then you go into collapse mode.
This might explain why you are dead tired and sucking down more coffee at 9:30 am.
Types of Oats
Now oats are processed in many ways and it’s important for you to understand which oats you are buying so you know how to prepare them properly.
Oats start out as a grain, a grass really. Like wheat or rice, it grows to maturity and then can be eaten. We strip away the hull and keep the fiber-rich bran which contains all the nutrition.
Despite being rolled or steel-cut the oats still hold their deeply nutritious makeup.
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Old fashioned rolled oats are, well, rolled. They are first steamed and then rollers are used to press them flat. These oats will take longer to cook because they are thick and cooked just enough to be rolled flat.
Quick Rolled Oats
Quick rolled oats follow a similar process but they are cooked longer and rolled thinner to decrease the cooking time.
I prefer these for food storage because I want quick and easy meals. If we are facing a collapse I don’t wanna spend all morning stirring pots. There will be many more important things to be done.
Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are less processed and are simply sliced using steel blades. They look like chopped up grains of rice. They naturally take longer to cook but have a unique texture.
If you are going to use oats in savory preparations steel-cut oats are really best.
You might look at those dried oats as only a breakfast and granola option. Even if that were the case they would still be quite useful to have around because these grains are so high in vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
We are going to touch on a number of preparations using oats. Be sure you give the oat and summer squash gratin a try. It might seem weird but it’s a delicious way to use your food storage.
The Best Bowl of Oatmeal
Cooking oatmeal is a matter of cooking the oats to your preference. You want them to at least be al dente. Some people really enjoy a bowl of mush.
Quick rolled oats are best for this. However, if you like a little more texture in your morning bowl use steel-cut oats. No matter how you take your oats there are some things that you can add to a bowl of oatmeal to make it truly special.
These are kind of a given but be sure you add plenty cinnamon. Don’t skimp on this because this spice has tremendous health benefits, too!
A teaspoon of peanut butter to your oats adds a serious protein bump and some healthy fats to your morning, too!
I was working in corporate catering in an office building for one of the biggest banks in the world. I worked with a woman from Honduras. I have worked with many women from Honduras in my cooking career. They were all incredibly maternal, caring, and really good cooks.
One morning she made me a bowl of oatmeal and from the outside it looked pretty standard cinnamon, sugar, well-cooked oats and she did add some milk.
When I tasted it, expecting something very sweet, I found that the oats were seasoned with salt. They were not salty but like a salted caramel the salt complemented the sweetness and I have never eaten them without salt since.
The very best oats should be seasoned to taste with salt. It’s a game changer.
My Favorite Simple Granola
- 3 Cups of Oats
- 1 Tbsp of Peanut Butter
- 2 Tbsp of Honey
- 1/4 Cup of Peanut Oil
- 2 Tbsp of Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 Cup of Chopped Walnuts
- 1/4 Cup of Raisins
Put your peanut butter, oil, and honey in a small pot. Over low heat bring the mix together as best as you can. It doesn’t have to incorporate but a nice warm, melty mix will make it work with the other ingredients better.
In a bowl mix your oats, chocolate, walnuts, and raisins. Then pour the warm peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix this thoroughly and lay out on a baking sheet.
Spread out the mix and bake for 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees. Allow it to cool and then break up and store in containers or plastic bags.
Overnight oats are all about convenience. They can be a huge ally if you are on a tight schedule but still want a healthy breakfast.
The great thing about overnight oats is that you can use a simple ratio to make any amount you need. It’s a 1:1 ratio of oats to milk.
- 1/4 Cup of Oats
- 1/4 Cup of Milk
- 1 Tsp of Cinnamon
- 1 Tsp of Sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, coffee cup or some other kind of container and let them sit over night.
Of course, you can add whatever else you want to this like dry fruit, fresh fruit, Chia seeds, yogurt, nuts, or vanilla extract.
The beauty of this recipe is the fact that it can be made in advanced and also requires no cooking. While this may not seem like a big deal now, consider a time when wood and fuel might be limited.
Oats can add lots of character to baked goods. When you eat an oatmeal cookie you get both the flavor and the texture of the oats. Oats are also a great addition to breads that are baked at home.
A simple bread dough that is peppered with oats and sunflower seeds can produce something very special. In this recipe, we are going to take a simple biscuit dough but add our oats from food storage.
- 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
- 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
- 3/4 Teaspoons of Salt
- 4 Teaspoons of Sugar
- 6 Tablespoons of Lard
- 1 Cup of Oats
- 1/2 Cup of Iced Water
Mix all of your dry ingredients in a bowl, thoroughly.
Add your lard to the center of the flour mixture. Using two knives begin to cut the lard into the dough. Do this by creating a scissor-type motion crossing the blades of the knives slicing the lard into the flour.
You will want to do this until the flour and lard mixture become crumbly in texture. At this point, you can add the water to the bowl and quickly bring the dough together.
Dump this out onto the table and knead it together just enough to get a nice ball of dough that is not too sticky. Place the who thing into the fridge, covered. Let the lard firm up again.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Roll out the dough and punch out biscuits of your desired size and shape. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
Summer Squash and Oat Gratin
If you grow summer squash you wind up with more than you can ever cook and eat. Recipes like this can be gold in the summertime. A Gratin is just something that is layered and baked with a topping.
Many times a gratin will include cheese but this one does not.
- 2lbs of Sliced Summer Squash
- 2 Tablespoons of Butter
- 1/4 Cup of Flour
- 1/2 an Onion Diced
- 2 Cups of Milk
- 1 Cup of Mixed Fresh Herbs (Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Oregano or whatever you like)
- 1 Cup of Oats
- 2 Tablespoons of Butter
In a large saucepot start 2 tablespoons of butter and add your onion. Cook until softened and add half of your flour. Stir the flour into the butter and onions off the heat.
You are creating a roux to thicken your milk. Cook the roux over low heat for a few minutes it will start to get brown and smell a little nutty.
Take the pot off the heat again and add a splash of your milk. You will see it quickly thicken up. Add a little more and little by little add all the milk keeping it smooth with a whisk. Tear up your herbs and add them to the sauce.
Bring the mix to a simmer and watch it thicken right up. This will be the base of your gratin. Pour some of it on into the bottom of a baking dish large enough to fit all of your sliced squash. Layer your squash over the top of the sauce.
Add another layer of sauce over the squash.
In a small pan melt the rest of the butter and combine it, in a large bowl, with your oats. Combine this thoroughly. The butter will make the oats crisp up good.
Top your gratin with the oats and then this dish is ready to bake.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let this grain stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Gratins can be super hot so you don’t wanna eat them when they are first out of the oven.
Oats are the rate case of an ingredient that can both serve as a meal on its own but also as a filler. Oats add texture and they add serious nutrition to the foods they are added to.
Not many ingredients, particularly for food storage, can make that kind of a claim. They are also incredibly affordable which is another huge benefit to making them part of your long term food storage plan.
From the savory cheesy oat gratin to the hands-off overnight oatmeal you get a range with this ingredient that most others cannot come close to.
Now would be a good time to try out the three varieties of oats and see if you are a lover of steel-cut or rolled. I find that steel-cut and rolled oats each have their place when it comes to recipes.
However, for the sheer stacking of calories for emergencies you cannot beat the quick rolled oats in price, cooking time, and ability to buy in bulk. Of course, your preference is the key to effective food storage. So, don’t take my word for it.