Tuesday, 22 July 2014

9 Types of Oats #101

Oats, whether they are GF Oats, organic oats or normal mainstream oats, they contain vitamin E,
several B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Oats also have some of the trace minerals selenium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese. They’re full of good-for-you phytochemicals and have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Oats have been found to benefit heart health, lower blood pressure, and can even help prevent diabetes as part as a high whole-grain diet.

Oats were one of the earliest cultivated cereals. The ancient Greeks were the first people known to make porridge (cereal) from oats. In England, oats were considered inferior, but in Ireland and Scotland they were used in many kinds of porridges and baked goods.

Oats have numerous uses in food; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour. Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge, but may also be used in a variety of baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread. Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola. Oats may also be consumed raw, and cookies with raw oats are becoming popular.

Here are the different oat products, names and descriptions:

1. Groats also known as Oat Kernels (this is the whole oat seed less the hull stabilized and ready to eat such as a rice product for breakfast or in other recipes). It is the harvested “as-is” product. Whole oat groats are widely used as animal feed, but not so easily found for human consumption. Some health food stores carry them. Whole oat groats can be cooked or steamed, but because they’re a bigger grain than rice or even whole wheat kernels, take much longer to cook. It can take up to an hour, although a pressure cooker will shorten the cooking time. Because they are “as-is”, they have the highest nutritional value of all forms of oats. They are digested very slowly, which reduces the glycemic load and makes them quite filling.

2. Steel Cut Oats sometimes called Scottish Oats in the US: (this is the groat that is cut in 2-3 pieces stabilized and ready to eat for breakfast or in other recipes) This shortens the cooking time, but keeps all the nutritional value of the whole oat groats. These are much easier to find at the grocery stores than whole oat groats.

3. Rolled Oats or Oat Flakes: either way, the oat is steamed to soften the grain, so it can then be pressed between steel rollers to flatten it.

4. Thick Rolled Oats: These are made from steamed whole oat groats rolled into flakes. Because they’re the thickest variety, it takes them longest to cook.

5. “Old Fashioned Oats”, or Regular Rolled Oats: this is the whole groats that are rolled into a thinner flake which shortens the cooking time and ready to eat for breakfast or in other recipes

6. Quick Oats: Instead of using whole oat groats, these are made from steel cut oats so are smaller pieces, and faster cooking. They digest a little quicker than regular rolled oats, but are still nutritious.

7. Instant Oats: These are quick oats that have one more processing step… they are pre-cooked. Because of this, all you have to do is add hot water and they’re ready to eat. Non-flavored varieties may have a bit of salt added, but are still nutritionally decent. However, the flavoured varieties can have a lot of sugar and artificial flavouring, so aren’t quite as good for you as regular types of oatmeal.

8. Oat Bran is made from oat groats ground into a fine oat meal, oat bran is then combined with some of the outer bran or husk of the oat to increase the overall fiber content of the oatmeal. Because of this, it is slightly higher in insoluble fiber than rolled or cut products. It is also quick cooking with a creamy consistency somewhat like cream of wheat. Oat bran is a great addition to breads or granola for a little extra fiber.

9. Oat Flour is created when steel cut oats are steamed, then ground into a fine powder to make oat flour. It has a lot of fiber, but contains very little gluten. It can be used in place of wheat flour in recipes, though it is usually mixed with other whole grain flours since it needs a little help to make it rise due to the lack of gluten. Adding gluten powder to breads will help it rise better, or using baking soda or baking powder in your baked goods.

Oats are definitely a nutritious powerhouse and can provide enormous health benefits to those who can tolerate it successfully.

Gloriously Free Uncontaminated Oats, sourced from GF Harvest in Wyoming are Steamed and Rolled “Old Fashioned Oats”.

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