Do you enjoy oatmeal, but do not want to have it for breakfast every single morning? Specifically, if you are wondering how long you can keep dry oatmeal and exactly how to store oatmeal, keep reading, because all the information you need about storing uncooked dry oats is covered below.
To preserve quality and maintain freshness, it’s recommended to store uncooked oats inside an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark space. The pantry, fridge and freezer are the best areas to store dry oatmeal.
If you prefer to buy uncooked staple ingredients, then here is the best guide for how to store dry oatmeal. So what are dry oats, and how are they made?
What is dry oatmeal?
Dry oatmeal or uncooked oats often refer to oat groats that have been processed into oatmeal types that are more commonly used such as steel cut, rolled and instant oats.
The first thing you need to know is that there are multiple types of oats and oatmeal related products. In order to understand storing dry oats, you need to understand the available kinds of oatmeal, which are generally classified in three ways:
Steel cut oats: Steel cut oats, also called pinhead or Irish oats, are the least refined of the three oatmeal process. They have undergone a cutting process where the groats are chopped in half while maintaining the same general shape as the original.
Steel cut oats can be stored for 3-5 years and have the longest shelf life because they are the least refined.
Rolled oats: Rolled oats, more commonly known as regular or old-fashioned oats, are most commonly favored by people. Instead of being cut, they are steamed and “rolled” into flakes that do not retain the former shape.
Rolled oats have an expected shelf life of 1-2 years before they start to turn funky.
Instant oats: Quick oats or instant oats are similar to rolled oats, but more processed. They go through a cooking or drying process before being rolled and are rolled thinner than rolled oats.
Instant oats are the most processed oat, resulting in a shorter usable timeframe of 6-9 months before the freshness begins to degrade.
Oatmeal Storage Tips
These are the most common oatmeal types, however the tips for storing dry oats will be similar for each. Keep these differences in mind as we further dive into the best ways to store oatmeal.
How do you store dry oatmeal long term?
When storing uncooked oatmeal for the long term, it is important that the storage space is clean, cool, dry and dark. Overexposure to heat, moisture and sunlight can cause the freshness and quality of the dry oats to deteriorate quickly.
Furthermore, a clean storage area is recommended to prevent unwanted visitors from finding the edible grain. Rodents and vermin are attracted to dry goods and can quickly destroy a long term stash.
Does dry oatmeal need to be refrigerated? The pantry is the place where most people keep their dry goods, including oatmeal. Steel cut oats, rolled oats, and quick oats may all be stored long term in the pantry.
Dry oats are often stored in their original containers. As long as they are stored in a sealed container, the pantry is kept dry and relatively cool, oats should be fine to store in the pantry for an extended period of time.
Can you store dry oats in the fridge? Uncooked oats may also be stored in the refrigerator, which is actually a good storage place that is clean, dry, dark, and cool.
However, as with dry storage in the pantry, dry oats must be kept in tightly sealed containers that do not allow the intrusion of moisture, which can cause the oats to spoil or even develop mold.
Can you store dry oats in the freezer? Storing dry oatmeal in the freezer is also an option. Dry oats can have their life span extended when stored in an airtight freezer bag inside the freezer.
Furthermore, there is no need for defrosting; oats can be taken straight from the freezer and placed right into the pot or used to make your favorite oatmeal recipes.
How long does dry oatmeal keep?
So how long exactly can you store your dry oats? This ultimately depends on the storage container and conditions within the storage area.
When comparing rolled oats versus quick oats, or steel cut oats versus instant oats, there is a difference in storage life span. All three types of oats must be kept in a properly sealed storage container in a cool, dry pantry or other dry storage area.
Instant oats will last between 6 – 9 months, rolled oats will last approximately 1 – 2 years, and steel cut oats may keep for up to 3 to 5 years.
Plastic buckets with oxygen absorbers and sealed #10 cans actually preserve dry oats for the longest period of time.
- Plastic buckets can keep dry oats good for up to twenty years when properly sealed and kept in a dry and cool location.
- #10 cans increase this lifespan by five years, being capable of storing dry oats for a whopping thirty years.
How long do dry oats last in fridge? Storing factory sealed containers in the fridge will not significantly extend the lifespan of dry oats.
Freezing might extend the shelf life a small amount, but also requires more energy and takes up lots of space that may be needed for materials that actually require freezing.
Can dry oatmeal go bad?
Dry oats have such a long lifetime that if you eat them frequently, you may have never seen a bad oat. This begs the question: can dry oats even go bad?
Yes, they most certainly can. It may take a while, especially if you are storing them in a clean, cool, dark and dry area in properly sealed storage containers. However, dry oats do eventually spoil, just like other foods.
Oatmeal Storage Containers
Now we come to the types of containers that dry oats may be sealed in. Dry oats may be placed in many different kinds of containers, including plastic containers, glass containers, freezer bags, mylar bags, and #10 cans.
So long as the containers are tightly sealed to prevent the invasion of moisture, which would turn the oats into a germ breeding ground.
Storing dry oatmeal: Final Thoughts
If you prefer to purchase bulk oats in commercially sealed packaging, then these tips will help you store dry oatmeal properly. Dry oats can be stored longterm as long as you do it the right way.
For the best results, utilize oatmeal storage containers such as glass, plastic or 10# cans to eliminate exposure to air. Keep your oats in a tightly sealed containers in a clean, cool, dark, and dry area, then dry oatmeal will stay fresh and last a long time.