There are few foods you can count on that are better than oatmeal. These rolled oats come in a sealed bucket that is easy to store, and it has a shelf life of 30 years. There are 201 servings (each serving is 1/2 cup) and all you'll need is boiling water. You can also soak the oats overnight in water and a source of fat like dehydrated milk over night (see Field Notes) if you don't have the resources to boil water.
Augason Farms Quick Rolled Oats Emergency Food Storage 20 Pound Pail
WHERE TO BUY
Importance: Crucial. An easy and long-lasting emergency food source.
Bottom line: When it comes to emergency food, rolled oats are a staple for a very good reason. This bucket lasts 30 years, and has 201 servings. You can make it with boiling water or soak them overnight in water/and or a dehydrated dairy source. It even comes in a square bucket for easy storage.
Recommended for: Shelters, including apartments and small spaces.
You’ll also need: There's a very good chance you will not have a heat source to boil water. If not, you can soak the oats overnight in water or, better, dehydrated milk. Saratoga Farms sells fortified instant milk power in multiple packs — each with 49 servings — in containers that last up to 20 years. Our suggestion is buy them together.
Be aware: Of course, you'll need water supplies to make this work. Another reason why water is still your no. 1 concern in an emergency situation.
Oatmeal is the easiest stuff to make on earth — as long as you have a heat source. If not, you can soak rolled oaks (which are less tough than steel-cut oats) overnight or longer in a liquid. Preferably you would still heat it, though for less time, after soaking overnight.
But the heat isn't strictly necessary. Your best bet is to pour 1/2 cup of oats and 1 cup of liquid into a Mason jar and cover overnight or longer. No, you don't need to chill it either. (Some raw food types argue that you get more nutrients by NOT chilling it. We'll leave that aside and simply say you probably won't have a choice in most disasters.)
The liquid should ideally have some kind of fat or dairy source in it, from almond milk, yogurt, cashew milk, etc. But if you think that this bucket has 320 ounces of oats, you'd need a LOT of milk. (And you'll need plenty of water.)
Our sincere suggestion is to buy Saratoga Farm's Fortified Instant Milk with it, and store them both together. It too will last 10 to 20 years, and you can simply mix it in with the water before soaking the oats. Each container has 49 servings, so a 4- or 6-pack would serve you well in the long run. If you'd prefer whole milk powder that touts itself as non-GMO and non-hormone, you can consider something like this, but it may not last as long.