Your senses will automatically tell your oats expired when the food product accumulated mold already. Let’s delve into what does mold on oatmeal look like.
Numerous studies have shown that consuming oats has a lot of health benefits, such as anticancer properties and lowering cholesterol in the blood. Considering its high dietary fiber content, it can combat various diseases.
However, oats can go wrong like any other food product. Whether you are an avid oatmeal-eater or purchase boxes worth of oats, you will need to store them properly.
If you are curious as to what toxins might lurk in your favorite cereal, then you have come to the right place.
Kinds Of Food Mold
Food mold is the last thing you want to see if you fancy boosting your appetite. Some molds are safe to ingest, specifically those you see on gorgonzola cheese or blue cheese.
Needless to say, most kinds of mold are toxic. Here are some mold types to expect on questionable food items:
- Botrytis cinerea – This mold is known for its grey color. Colonies are most prominent on soft food items like strawberries, bananas, and acai.
- Cladosporium herbarum – Cladosporium is a common mold and is a famous nemesis of people with allergies. It often invades bread manifesting in deep green to dark spots.
- Penicillium – Penicillium feeds on dry goods having a fuzzy white or black appearance. They are often seen on dry-aged salami and other cured meats.
Mold symptoms to look out for on oatmeal
- Fluffy white patches
- Musty smell
What Does Mold Look Like On Specific Oatmeal Variants?
1. Dry oats
Dry oats appropriately stored in cool, dry, and dark places should pose no problem. On the other hand, mold will absolutely contaminate the food once moisture has sneaked into the container.
The mold’s long strands will hug the surface of the oats extending to its core. You can see white fuzzy fungus balls growing on it.
Time is a great factor for mold growth as well. Eventually, the cream-colored oats will turn to pale yellow and will develop yellowish streaks.
2. Instant oats
Like dry oats, instant oats are retailed as a dry good. Quick-cooking oats are partially cooked by steaming and then processed thinner than dry oats.
It is cooked in a few minutes resulting in a mild flavor and a gummy texture. Initially, they have a mushy-like texture and, if impaired with mold, can sog.
3. Cooked oatmeal
Leftover cooked oatmeal is often stored in the refrigerator. Fungi, mildew, and mold thrive in humid weather, but some species survive the cold too.
Here is a helpful article on what causes mold in the fridge.
As a result, prepared meals in the fridge will have mold on them after a week of storage. According to Carothers, all cooked food and leftovers are refrigerated for 3-4 days only.
Note that cooked food with mold is a clear indicator of spoilage. Notice how green-blue mold colonies will start to occupy the container.
Causes Of Mold On Your Oats
There is a 100% chance that moisture, heat, and an unsanitary area will contribute to your food’s decline. The air is filled with floating microspores, and these spores fall onto damp food.
Improper food handling, such as letting it be exposed to mycotoxins, is another reason for mold growth. Oxidation increases with food items out in the open air.
Mold grows fastest with gluten-containing oatmeal. Fortunately, companies can produce gluten-free products.
For additional information, you may check out this article on which food molds the fastest.
Keep Mold Away From Your Food
Clearly, to keep away unwanted bacteria from stampeding your food is to clean the storage. Prevent mildew and pests from coming in by storing it in a:
- Storage container – Choose an air-tight container to store your oatmeal. This way, even tiny specks of dust cannot enter.
- Cupboard area – Food that is bare to critters will likely be eaten by critters. Keep it sanitized regularly.
Can Expired Oatmeal Make You Sick?
Not precisely, but dry ingredients such as oats (or generally oatmeal) will unlikely make you sick. Expiry on the carton is just a precaution from the manufacturers for its ‘best by’ or ‘best before date.
However, expired oatmeal is not recommended to be consumed as your avid cereal meal as it may provide you less nutritional value. Months or years after the best by date, oxidation will set in, eventually disturbing your stomach.
Oatmeal is an excellent choice for a meal not just for breakfast but for any time of the day. It’s a cheap option for keeping you full and helps manage your weight at the same time.
Instant boxed oatmeal has a shorter lifespan than dried oats that can last for 6 months up to 2 years. Dry ingredients like oats should be kept in a vacuum container in a dry place, not susceptible to heat and moisture.
Discard your oatmeal if it already has an off-putting odor, has discoloration, and mold all over. If you are still uncertain if your oatmeal said goodbye, go over and read what does mold on oatmeal look like.