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Jun 23, 2009 11:19 AM

How to Store Oatmeal..(McCann's steel cut) (??)

My can of McCann's oatmeal (regular, not instant) is almost full and sitting on the counter in my kitchen. I will not be using it until the fall.

Should I store it in the original can? Take out and freeze in a zip-loc bag? Refrigerate?

I do not need ways to use it up..just want to know how to store for the cooler weather. I checked their website but came up empty..


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  1. I have a FoodSaver, and a variety of their vacuum canisters. It's a PIA to store things I use regularly in them because you have to re-vacuum them each time, but they are ideal for long-term storage of stuff like your oatmeal. I also use them for some of the variety flours I have (like rye), that I may use only once in a while.

    1. If you don't have a vacuum seal device, just keep the oatmeal in the original can, or change it to a glass jar (way better than any plastic container in my opinion), and keep it in either the refrigerator or the freezer. It'll be fine for months.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jmnewel

        McCann's usually comes in a metal can, not plastic. Given that, if I was to freeze it, I would probably drop the entire can into a zip lock bag, to protect the can from moisture.

        Personally, I wouldn't necessarily freeze it- it would depend on what the normal temp & humidity is in the OP's kitchen. Freezing grains can be good if bugs are a problem in your area, but the typical McCann's can is going to prevent that. Freezers are cold, but they are not dry...and grains do better if kept dry. Because steel cut oats are broken/cut oat groats, there is a slight risk of the natural oil within becoming rancid with time, but nearly all oat groats are heat treated to help prevent this before being sold- or made into steel cut oats or rolled oats. I'd leave the oats in their original can, storing them in a cool, dry area of your pantry.

        1. re: anniemax

          Thanks everyone! I should have mentioned that they are in the metal can. Bugs are not a huge problem, but maybe I should put the can in a zip-loc and store the bagged can in the cabinet. ??

          I don't have a vaccum device, by the way.

          I just went through my cabinets and looked up several of the grains I found there. For example, millet does not keep very long, so I tossed it, never having used it is 2 years anyway! Also made bulgur last night and it did not smell fresh, so also tossed the rest.

          Trying to clean up and clear out!

          Thanks again!

      2. Am I going to be the only one who'll admit to having a large can of this in the cupboard for a couple of years now ? Still cooks fine on the occasion I have it, and no bugs.

        5 Replies
        1. re: im_nomad

          No you won't. I had two cans up on top of the microwave for over a year. I *DID* taste kind of stale and took a long time to cook after that, so it really should have been in a cooler place, but it was at least edible. In the cupboard it woulda been OK, but I had no room...

          1. re: Will Owen

            I commend you both for the bravery in your admissions! You don't even want to know what kinds of old grains/beans/pasta are stashed away in my cabinets! Example: Should I throw out flageolets that I brought home from France 5 years ago?

            1. re: erica

              You could try cooking some first. If the center's still solid when the exterior is melting away, pitch'em. Don't feel bad: I had to do that to almost 5 lbs of imported canellini. Ouch!

            2. re: Will Owen

              BTW, I use my handy dandy Zoji fuzzy logic rice cooker to make the steely oats. I got a can of the McCains to put in my hubby's stocking for Christmas -- he likes oatmeal, is of Scottish descent, & I thought it would be cute. Now he won't let me buy anything else.

              1. re: PattiCakes

                Yes, I was having a brain freeze. It's McCann's, not McCain's; and it's Irish oats, not Scots. mea culpa. Still the best, though, and I'm not telling the old Scotsman that he's eating Irish oatmeal.

          2. Hi There Erica,

            I am with McCann's and am glad to see you're enjoying our steel cut oats! The best way to store steel cuts is in an airtight container in the freezer. Hope this helps.

            If you are interested in new recipes, or preperation shortcuts, take a look at our website.


            2 Replies
            1. re: LeahDiPalma

              Why thank you very much, Leah! This is a pleasant surprise! I will now sign off and do exactly what you say, and look forward to having another bowl of McCann's after the heat lifts. Thanks again.

              1. re: erica

                I thought I hated oatmeal until I tasted McCann's Steel Cut Oats...and now I am a believer! I love the stuff...nice and chewy!