Does It Go Bad?

Information about storage and shelf life of various products

Does Oatmeal Go Bad

Does oatmeal go bad? If that question is bothering you, you’ve found the answer. Oatmeal is a dried grain that’s pretty popular nowadays. Many people choose oatmeal cereals for their and their children’s breakfast. But what if you’ve suddenly stopped eating oatmeal on a daily basis and now you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’ve got a pack of oatmeal and you’re not sure if you can safely consume it and prepare it for your kids. If that sounds familiar, you’re in the right place, please read along.

How to store oatmeal

If you’re not quite sure how to store oatmeal, it’s pretty easy. You just need to make sure it’s stored in a cool and dry area. You can choose to keep it in the pantry, but keeping it in a cupboard in the kitchen is a valid idea as well. Also, after opening the package for the first time, you need to remember to store it sealed tightly all the time. This will prevent picking up any odors and any moisture that might accumulate in the nearest area (if you’ll keep it in a really dry area, that won’t be an issue).

Oatmeal with Nutella and dried cranberries
(credit:mallydally)

Shelf life of oatmeal

Every package of oatmeal should have a “best by” or “use by” date on it. That’s the recommended time within which the oatmeal should be consumed. In most cases it’s recommended by producers to use oatmeal within a year after the production date. That being said, you should be aware of the fact that, if stored properly, oatmeal can be stored for a lot longer, even more than a couple of years. It’s somewhat similar to sugar – if water won’t find its way somewhere near it, it’ll be fine for years. Please remember that it might, unlike sugar, slowly change its color, flavor or texture. It will be fine, but the quality of the product won’t necessarily be top-notch.

How to tell if oatmeal is bad

This one is pretty easy – if your oatmeal will really go bad, you’ll (in most cases) know it. How will you be able to tell that it’s bad? Off (or funny) odor, significant change in appearance or signs of mold are sure signs of spoilage. If any of this occurs, just throw the product away. If oatmeal isn’t clearly bad, but you’re not quite sure it’s fine either, discard it. One great piece of advice to remember: it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Summary
As you should be aware by now, oatmeal can go bad, but if it’ll be stored properly, in most cases it’ll be fine for a lot longer than its “best by” date. Just keep the package tightly sealed and away from any moisture, and you can store it even for a couple of years.

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