oats.

oats

about oats.

Confession time: my favorite way to eat oats is with equal parts brown sugar…but we all know that sugar is bad news.  After having grown accustomed to brown sugar laden oatmeal, it is hard for me to eat oatmeal without it.  But there are many better ways to get this nutritious whole grain into the diet.  Add a 1/2 cup to your favorite pancake or muffin recipe.  Roast some in the oven with a bit of maple syrup, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and use them as a crunchy topping for fruit salads, coconut ice cream, or parfaits (or to eat by the spoonful!).  Use them in recipes that call for bread crumbs.  Be creative!

nutritional profile of oats.

oats

Oats are an excellent source of phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B complex (especially B1 or Thiamin), protein, iron, and zinc.  Due to their high fiber content, oats are known for aiding digestion and lowering cholesterol.  The nutrition facts displayed here are for 1 cup of regular oats (nutrient info. from the USDA nutrient database).

oat selection.

You may have noticed “gluten-free” oats in the store and wondered, “Do oats have gluten?”  Oats do not contain gluten.  HOWEVER, they are often planted/harvested in fields that rotate with wheat crops.  Inevitably some wheat will regrow after the oats are planted, causing contamination of a “pure” oat crop.  Also, the grains are often processed on equipment that also processes wheat, resulting in further contamination possibilities. So for individuals that are highly sensitive to gluten, buying gluten-free oats provides the assurance that the oats are not contaminated.

All forms of oats are milled in order to remove an inedible covering.  After that there are various ways of preparing the oats for distribution.  Oat groats are the whole kernels. Steel-cut oats (a.k.a. Scottish oats or Irish oatmeal) are whole kernels that have been roughly chopped.  Rolled oats are flattened whole kernels.  Instant oats are flattened steel-cut oats.  The more the oats are chopped and flattened, the quicker they are to cook and the softer the end result.

oat storage.

To avoid rancidity, keep groats in the refrigerator as they retain a higher fat content than other oats.  Other forms of oats can be kept on the counter or in the pantry in a cool, dry, air tight container.

oat storage

oat preparation.

No prep work here unless you’re the farming type.  Buy the type of oats that suit your texture/recipe preferences and start adding some whole grains to your meals.

oat recipes.

Head to the know your food page for a dynamic list of great oat recipes or try my recipe for easy homemade granola.

granola

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