Friday Food Storage Quickie: Breakfast of Champions

Sharon November 6th, 2009

I know I missed last week, but I plead Amtrak ;-) .  Now we’re back to adding just a little bit to our pantries and preps each week.  So what’s on the agenda for this week?

Oatmeal, some kind of sweetener and some dried fruit are on this week’s agenda.  This week we’re going to pick up two breakfast staples.  First rolled or steel cut oats, or whole groats. You can get them from any supermarket, although as always they will be cheaper in bulk. They are nutritious, tasty and almost everyone will eat oatmeal.  Even invalids and babies old enough to eat solid food can digest it, and it is makes a good ingredient in breads and baked goods, as well, of course, as being the solution to your breakfast questions.  Oats keep for some years as long as they are protected from moisture and rodents, so there’s no rush to use them, although of course, you’ll want to practice eating them – always eat what you store.  How much?  I’d get as much as you can reasonably afford, since they are cheap,  assuming you like and eat oats – because then you always have a good breakfast.  I like them raw and mixed with fruit sauces, as oatmeal, in scones and bread and made into granola, so they aren’t going to go to waste at my house - oats are versatile. 

If you are making oatmeal, you’ll probably want something to sweeten it a little – honey, agave nectar, brown sugar or maple syrup. This will improve the palatability of most of the other foods as well. Me, I particularly like honey, and it stores nigh-on forever, but any shelf-stable sweetener is fine. You don’t need a lot of it – a 5lb bag or jar to supplement what you’ve got already is good and should last a while unless you are sweet fiends

And I would add some dried fruit as well – whether raisins or apples, peaches or prunes.  This will help with three things. First, dried fruits make children and sweet-dependent adults feel like they’ve had a sweet without you having to stock up on twinkies ;-) .  Second, if you shift to a storage diet all of a sudden at some point,  dried fruits will, umm, regularize things if you get stopped up.  Finally, they offer nutritional value that you can’t get elsewhere.  Dried fruit can be pricey, and you don’t need that much – if it is too expensive, consider looking for sources of fruit that can be dried for free – fruit trees that go unharvested or wild berries. You can dehydrate almost any fruit, and they are almost all delicious. 

If you have a little extra space in your budget, all of these things will be welcomed by the food pantry, so pick up an extra package or two and donate them. They’ll also be grateful for pasta, canned soup and peanut butter.

Also, for a non-food preparation, time to check your stored water, or get some if you don’t have it.  Remember, it happens all the time – the water goes out, or gets contaminated and boy does that stink!  Having some stored water (at least 1 gallon per person per day for a week or two, 2 gallons per person per day is better) is a useful hedge against sitting in your apartment drinking all the vodka because there’s nothing else ;-) .  Storing water is easy – get some recycled soda bottles, or glass bottles or gallon jugs.  Fill with water.  Add four drops of bleach per gallon, half of that for a half gallon, or just empty them out and rotate them every 3 months.  Ta da!  You are water crisis ready!


20 Responses to “Friday Food Storage Quickie: Breakfast of Champions”

  1. espon 06 Nov 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for another food storage quickie. We are finding them very helpful. Small, discrete tasks are good. :)

    I’ve been delaying on the water storage because somehow it just befuddles me. Thanks for the reminder. Am I remembering correctly that milk jugs are NOT good for water storage? That is what we have most easily available here…

  2. Carolon 06 Nov 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I second eating what you store. We used to eat granola, but it’s expensive and hard on the teeth (both physically and often sugar-wise). Please can I encourage people to try to break the sugar habit! Over my lifetime (in my 50s) I have paid thousands of dollars in dentist bills because of the damage to my teeth from the sugar I was fed as a child and adolescent.

    We eat oatmeal (called porridge here in the UK) every morning with sultanas (like raisins), so it is sweet, not bland. After cooking, we stir in what we call “sprinkles” — ground flaxseed (we have a manual seed grinder, which keeps the cost down), wheat germ, and cinnamon. If you have a sweet tooth, cinnamon is much better for you. Porridge really takes no time to prepare.

    We buy “jumbo oats” in 5 kilo bags (about 10 pounds), and the two of us use up a bag in about 50 days. In a pinch, we could live on our porridge breakfast and an evening meal of soup, if we had to.

  3. Apple Jack Creekon 06 Nov 2009 at 5:36 pm

    My favourite way to cook oatmeal is to put a bit of quick cook oats in a bowl, and pour some of my apple syrup over it, then hot water. Let sit a bit, stir, eat!

    The apple syrup was super easy to make: I cooked windfall apples (in varying conditions – didn’t much matter) in a very little bit of water, and then mushed to sauce (stems, cores, seeds and all). Strained the resulting stuff through my Lee Valley Juice Bag, cooked the juice up with some sugar, and bottled.

    I added rose hips to some of the syrup, as well, for extra vitamin c. Good way to get one’s vitamins!

    Glad to read the stuff stores well – I wasn’t sure, but I figured it seemed like something that would keep quite well. Maybe I’ll see about buying a bucket from a local baker’s supply shop….

  4. ctdaffodilon 06 Nov 2009 at 5:56 pm

    we are finally at the bottom of my last oatmeal buying spree. Gearing up for this years purchase though and watching the flyers for the best price.
    Kids have decided they like the steel cut oats – I have to remember to crockpot them the night before though since we have short mornings here.

  5. owlfanon 06 Nov 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I like granola too, and it is much cheaper if you make your own. It doesn’t have to be so sweet either. I make it up several pounds of oats at a time and it stores well. Then we eat it as is, on top of other cereal, or mixed in with yogurt (one of my favorites). It’s also good sprinkled in with pancake batter – gives just a little crunch to the pancakes.

  6. Alisonon 06 Nov 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Oats are the one thing in my food storage plan that I can say with confidence I’m “storing what I use and using what I store” the way I should. I thought I’d share my homemade granola recipe, as I think it’s simpler and less sweet than some I’ve seen.

    I mix together 8 cups rolled oats, approx. 3/4 to 1 cup nuts (I usually use sliced almonds, but you can use whatever you like), approx. 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds (I’ve used salted ones when I couldn’t find unsalted and couldn’t tell the difference), and 1/4 c. each vegetable or canola oil and maple syrup. Spread into a jelly roll pan (edged cookie sheet) and bake at 200 or 225 for an hour. After it cools, add approx. a cup of dried fruit.

    I eat this for breakfast virtually every morning of my life, and I love it. I’m guessing you could prepare it in a solar oven, but I have never tried it.

  7. olympiaon 06 Nov 2009 at 6:11 pm

    For those who are trying to cut back on sugar- I’ve recently started experimenting with eating oats savory style, inspired by Mark Bittman at the NYT. Oats with onions and soy sauce aren’t bad! Peanut butter in oatmeal is also good.

  8. donon 06 Nov 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Steel cut oats are far tastier, and better textured, than rolled oats, but their long
    cooking time can make them problematic for those on a tight morning
    schedule. My secret: mix with water the night before. Bring to a boil
    (a microwave works nicely), then let them rest overnight. In the
    morning, they will cook up in a couple of minutes.

  9. veraon 06 Nov 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Oatmeal… yuk! I am making a plug here for the delicious buckwheat. Untoasted whole, cooked with milk, sweetened with honey… yum!

  10. ceceliaon 07 Nov 2009 at 1:07 am

    I love oatmeal – and I add it to all sorts of things. It is a good substitute for breadcrumbs and gives a nutty taste and great texture. I add it when I bake apple cinnamon bread. It even can be ground to make a flour – I have a special holiday cookie recipe I do this for.

    Another grain to keep on hand – farina or as some call it – semolina.

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  12. Elizabethon 07 Nov 2009 at 8:30 am

    It can also be made into a milky drink!

  13. Fernon 07 Nov 2009 at 8:37 am

    Oh, Vera – my husband can’t even handle the SMELL of cooking buckwheat! OTOH, it’s one of my favorite grains.

  14. Debon 07 Nov 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Oatmeal is one of my fast food meals–breakfast, lunch or supper. We like it with butter and sorghum on it–both made locally. Or if I have plenty left over at the end of the winter, jam that’s been heated with water and thinned a bit for a syrup. I add it to wheat bread, cornbread, scones and meatloaf. My kids like it in granola which is made with half honey and half sorghum and whatever else I’m trying to use up from the pantry.

    One of our favorite holiday dishes is stewed prunes made with a stick of cinnamon and a little sugar–served cold. You can toss in anything else you have that’s dried also. I also make it in summer with thinly sliced lemon peel cooked with the prunes as a cold summer dish.

    My mother would take the stewed prunes and beat them to a froth, add whipped cream and serve it with nuts on top–prune whip she called it.

    I usually stock up on bulk craisens when I see them–we visit friends up in northern WI every couple years and they live near a cranberry bog. I visit the local grocery store and get them in 5 lb bags for half what I pay in the store here for a small bag. They freeze well for long term storage.


  15. veraon 07 Nov 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Fern, I am gonna try presoaking in milk overnight. Maybe it will cut the cooking time and the odors? :-) Nothing like the noble buckwheat… no gluten either…

  16. Kelly Ron 07 Nov 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Note from the exterminator here:

    Keep your oats safe from nibbling mice. Build them out by storing them in mouse proof containers – jars, tins, metal boxes. You could set up simple snap traps in your pantry to act as your advance guard…keep them baited with peanut butter or other nut or pea butter and replace the bait about once a month. For a little more money, you can buy a Tin Cat – a repeating mouse trap, but the snap traps are more reliable. If your house is tight enough, mice probably can’t get in..but all they need is a hole 1/4 inch high and maybe 1/2 inch wide. A little time spent replacing door sweeps and sealing up cracks in the foundation can keep out a lot of mice…and save on heating bills to boot.


  17. Kelly Ron 07 Nov 2009 at 3:20 pm

    oh…dried fruit and Indianmeal moths…careful of these little 1/2 inch moths. Check for webbing in the dried fruit you buy…or flying around in the stores you frequent. Infested food can be frozen for 4 days and this will kill all lifestages of the pests.


  18. eton 08 Nov 2009 at 1:36 am

    No, oats don’t store very well.

    Oats are a high fat grain – they go rancid. If you don’t recognize the taste of rancid oats maybe you’ve never had fresh oats.

    The high fat content (higher than corn) is part of what makes them nutritious.

  19. Annon 08 Nov 2009 at 8:55 am

    Oats are not for everyone, neither are sugars, nor dried fruit, especially early in the morning. I can’t digest most grains. Don’t ask me to describe it. You don’t want to know. Most grains require a lot of processing to be digestible. Cultures that eat a lot of grains ferment them. Many people still can’t digest them. They are associated with chronic disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and learning disabilities in children. Dried fruit may be better than candy, but it is mostly sugar. Honey, etc, is virtually all sugar. Blood sugar problems are rampant in this country; diabetes is the best known. Children desperate for sweets are already showing signs of blood sugar problems. Hyperactivity after eating this kind of breakfast followed by a mood and energy crash is another sign. And, sadly, the wheat/oat/barley/rye category of grains has been associated with autism. Try googling it. It may save a valuable life.

  20. hughowenson 08 Nov 2009 at 11:19 am

    This is just a brief thankyou for your thoughtful blog which I have missed during a long and difficult ocean voyage and the last frantic month preparing for another winter in our high wyoming valley. I am finally catching up with my favorite thinkers like sharon, jmg, davecohen,kunstler,ilargi and others. thank you for working so hard and writing in your clear articulate way.

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