How Long It Takes Those Oats in Your Pantry to Go Bad

iStock.com/invizbk
iStock.com/invizbk

You can tell when some foods go bad by looking for changes in texture, scent, and color. Other products don't warn you that they're past the point of palatability until you take a bite. According to Extra Crispy, the dried oats on your shelf fall into the latter category.

If you're someone who goes through a package of oats—whether they're rolled oats or steel-cut—in a few months or less, you may have never had to think about whether it has an expiration date. As long as they're stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place, most oats should last one to two years before they start to turn funky.

There are, however, a couple exceptions to this rule. Flavored oatmeal packets that contain added ingredients like dried fruit or cream will start to spoil a bit faster—somewhere around the six- to nine-month mark. Some fancier, organic oats can also have a shorter shelf life if they're unstabilized. Most oats from big brands like Quaker treat their oats by dehusking them, rolling them, steaming them, and toasting them. This process stabilizes the grains and extends the expiration date of whatever oils they contain. If you purchase oats labeled "unsteamed" or "unstabilized," those oils will turn bad a bit faster than the commercially processed stuff. But if you store them properly in the fridge, the oats should last you about 12 months.

If you're not sure exactly how long your oats have been hanging out in the back of your cabinet, the good news is that they probably won't hurt you even if they're on the older side. They may taste a little sour or be discolored, but as long as you don't see any mold growing, they're not unsafe to eat. To be totally safe, you can store your oats in a glass or metal container to extend their shelf life even longer. And for a totally low-maintenance pantry, stock it with these items that almost never go bad.

[h/t Extra Crispy]

McDonald’s Is Testing Out Vegan McNuggets in Norway

McDonald's has never been an especially welcoming place for vegans (until 1990, even the fries contained meat). But now, the chain's Norwegian locations are working to change that. As Today reports, McDonald's restaurants in Norway have launched a vegan nugget alternative to the classic chicken McNugget.

The new vegan McNuggets are prepared to look like the menu item customers are familiar with. They're coated with a layer of breadcrumbs and fried until they're golden-brown and crispy. Instead of chicken meat, the nugget is filled with plant-based ingredients, including mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, corn, and carrots.

The vegan McNuggets are only available to customers in Norway for now, but if they're popular, they may spread to McDonald's in other parts of the world. Norway's McDonald's locations also include a Vegetarian McFeast burger on its menu.

McDonald's is famous for tailoring its menus to international markets, and vegetarian options are much easier to find in restaurants some parts of the world compared to others. In India, where one fifth of the population is vegetarian, customers can order the McAloo Tikki Burger, made from potatoes and peas, or a McVeggie sandwich.

[h/t Today]

All-Marshmallow Boxes of Lucky Charms Are Back, But Not Everyone Will Be Able to Get One

Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms

Hot on the heels of a Virginia brewery's cereal-inspired marshmallow beer, another way for grown adults to feel like kids again has emerged. Marshmallow-only Lucky Charms are back—this time with unicorn and rainbow shapes. Unfortunately, only 15,000 boxes of the sweet stuff are up for grabs.

If you were already planning on treating yourself by picking up some regular Lucky Charms from your local supermarket, be on the lookout for promotional boxes that say “You could win a box of only marshmallows” on the front. The inside panels of those boxes contain codes that can be entered at MarshmallowOnly.com for your chance to win one of the rare pure-marshmallow boxes. The promotion will run through the summer, so you’ll have plenty of time to enter up to 30 codes. Here's a list of participating retailers carrying the coded boxes [PDF].

This isn’t the first time that General Mills, the maker of Lucky Charms, has held this sweepstakes. In 2015, the company gave away 10 boxes of marshmallow-only cereal (or, as it calls the sugary shapes, “marbits”). Based on the popularity of that promotion, it handed out 10,000 boxes in 2017.

"It's no secret that Lucky Charms fans love the marshmallows," Scott Baldwin, director of marketing for cereal at General Mills, said in a statement. "Consumers have flooded our inboxes and swept our social feeds begging for Lucky Charms Marshmallow Only to return. You asked, and we listened!"

If you’re not feeling especially lucky, you can buy similar versions of the marshmallows on Amazon. Retailers like Medley Hills Farm and Hoosier Hill Farm (which are apparently unrelated companies) sell one-pound bags of cereal marshmallows for $11 and $10, respectively. You can also order an 8-pound bag, or, if you’re feeling especially peckish, a 40-pound case of dehydrated marshmallows for $228. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, it's “just the right amount."

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