The Post-Consumer Pantry: Oatmeal in an instant

The Post Consumer Pantry. photo by Max Cooper
Image 2. Better than boxed: Stir up some homemade instant oatmeal mix for a satisfying alternative to pre-packaged oats. photo by Rich Orris

When we moved to a five-acre farm near Enka last year, we knew our kitchen would undergo a makeover. Yes, we replaced the 1950s-era Formica, but we also rummaged through our pantry, vowing to replace packaged goods with homemade staples. Slowly but surely, our cupboard transitioned from a pile of plastic wrappers to a collage of Mason jars.

The Post-Consumer Pantry lets you in on our homesteading discoveries with simple recipes that are easy to tackle. We're not taking on the world here, just sharing humble additions to our cooking and cleaning routines. Join us for an exploration of food that tastes better, costs less and gives a feeling of satisfaction that just can't be found in the packaged food aisle.

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This month, we'll prove how easy it is to make your own instant oatmeal. Firing up the stovetop isn't possible some mornings and the prospect of washing a sticky pot of oatmeal before dawn can be discouraging. But that's no reason to reach for the man with the Quaker hat and long white curls. It's surprisingly easy to make your own instant oatmeal mix, and unlike the sticky sweet packages of oats covered in preservatives, this oatmeal is completely natural.

Homemade instant oatmeal is also infinitely customizable. Hate raisins? Substitute cranberries. Love nuts? Throw them in. Below are three homemade instant oatmeal recipes that can be altered to suit your taste. With just a few minutes, a food processor and a little hot water, you'll never go back to the box.

Cinnamon raisin instant oatmeal mix

- 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups raisins

- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread oats on an un-greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes
- Let oats cool slightly and transfer 4 cups of oats into a food processor
- Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt
- Pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse powder
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl and combine powder, remaining 2 cups of oats and raisins

To prepare: Combine 1/2 cup oatmeal mix with 3/4 cup boiling water. Place a plate over the bowl, let sit for five minutes and enjoy!

Apple pie oatmeal

- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1.5 cups coarsely chopped dried apples

- Follow cinnamon raisin recipe
- Add allspice and nutmeg to the food processor
- Replace raisins with dried apples

Cranberry almond oatmeal

- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 cup almond slivers

- Toast almonds in a medium pan on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently
- Follow cinnamon raisin recipe, replacing cranberries for raisins and adding almonds to the mixing bowl as the final step

Keeps at room temperature: 4 weeks
Refrigeration: 3 months

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