Monday, October 3, 2011

Oat-standing! Some Oat 101

It's Monday once again. I love Monday. I look forward to it! Oh how odd. I bet I'm one of the few of the working who actually does, but Monday means I get to do a post on cooking with food storage here on the blog! It also means I get to play with my food and take more pictures. Case in point. Today we're talking oats. By and far, I adore oats in my Chef Tess' Oat Bread. However, there's a lot more to know about the oat. OH...I'm teaching a class tomorrow at my favorite Honeyville Farms Retail Store tomorrow at 10 AM ( | 33 South 56th Street Suite 1| Chandler, AZ 85226 Phone: (480) 785-5210 ) They have an amazing selection of oats. Seriously...look Here.
Class is Free...but come early because it's surely going to be busy! I love seeing all the shining happy faces at my classes. It makes me want to I promise I won't sing at the class. Well, unless you want me to sing at the class. 
When I think of oats, I always think of the the crazy king of the lemurs and his nutty dance. Yup.  My brain works in Disney...full color...Yes. I wear the hat.

King Julian singing "Light, fit, Oat-tastic...physically, physically, physically fit!" 

I don't know why...but that's the visual I get. 

Good luck getting that song out of your head 


So...speaking of light fit Oat-tastic... Oats are a powerhouse of nutrition. They contain calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and potassium as well as the trace minerals like iron, zinc, copper, selenium and manganese. Nutritionally dense in phytochemicals and fiber (soluble and insoluble). They have been proven to help your heart, lower blood pressure and maintain healthy blood sugar levels in diabetics. Oats come in many forms. From the whole oat grain called an oat groat to steel cut oats, Scottish Oats, rolled oats to instant oats. Perhaps you, like many, have only ever thought of oats for breakfast. As exciting as oatmeal's not the only way to use oats. In fact, after this little workshop, you may never look at oats the same way again. All these forms vary in cooking time and texture but not in nutrition. Listed below are the health benefits of eating oatmeal or any other form of oats thanks to :

  • Soluble Fiber
    One of the best benefits of oatmeal
    (or any whole oat food) is that it
    lowers cholesterol by removing LDL (bad cholesterol) while maintaining HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Insoluble fiber
    Absorbs water which helps to speed the transit of food through the bowels which helps to reduce the risk of some bowel related cancers (i.e. colon cancer).
  • Beta Glucan
    A bio-defense modifier which means it will boost your immune system.
  • Vitamins and Minerals
    Additional benefits of oatmeal include Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin E.
  • Phytochemicals
    Plant chemicals that have shown promise in fighting and preventing cancer. For example, the phytoestrogens (lignans) found in oats help to fight hormone related diseases like breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. 

 Oats were once considered animal fodder by the English, but in Ireland and Scotland became highly prized for their ability to add texture and satiation to baked goods and porridge. British Quakers inspired the common name of “Quaker Oats” to the oats we eat today. They came to America in the 1600's. Most of the oats we have in America are produced in South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as well as Canada. Oats come in more than one form. Six come to mind. So, let's outline a few differences. You can see my pictures. I'm adding some  word details on the actual forms 
Whole Oat Groats

 "This is the harvested “as-is” product. Whole oat groats are widely used as animal feed, but not so easily found for human consumption. ( I found them here: 
Whole Grain Oat Groats). 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.
 steel cut oats
 Steel Cut Oatmeal or Oats
Just to make things even more confusing, steel cut oats are also commonly called Irish Oatmeal. They’re exactly what the name says, being whole oat groats that have been steel cut into smaller pieces. 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. Look for either steel cut oats or Irish Oatmeal. I got mine here: Steel Cut Oats. (This is how to cook them...)
 Scottish Oats
Scottish oats are not to be confused with Irish Oatmeal. They are steamed, steel cut oats than are then ground into a meal. This improves the grain’s ability to absorb water and allows a shorter cooking time. Some manufacturers toast the oats to create a richer-flavored oatmeal, or combin it with some oat bran to make the oat meal creamier.
Rolled Oats or Oat Flakes

When people think of oatmeal, this is the kind they usually mean. Rolled oats can be made with the whole oat groat or using steel cut oats. Either way, the oat is steamed to soften the grain, so it can then be pressed between steel rollers to flatten it. There are four main types of rolled oats:
  1. 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.
  2. Old Fashioned Oats”, or Regular Rolled Oats: Think Quaker Oatmeal. These are the steamed whole oat groats rolled into a thinner flake which shortens the cooking time. The texture is a bit mushier than thick rolled oats, but still pretty filling and full of whole grain goodness.
 Basic cooking instructions for old fashioned oats are here:

 (I use rolled oats in my favorite Oatmeal...Soup)


 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.

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 flavored varieties can have a lot of sugar and artificial flavoring, so aren’t quite as good for you as regular types of oatmeal.

(Perhaps you could save a lot of money using my recipes for

Homemade Gourmet Instant Oatmeal Packets )

There are two more types of oat products available, oat bran and oat flour.
Oat Bran
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.
Oat Flour
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. 
No matter what variety of oats you choose, they’re a nutritional powerhouse that should be in everyone’s diet!"
 Last night we made this delightful oat groat and beef pilaf in our solar oven. It was magnificent enough that even Ace had 3 plates of it! So...I should share that recipe huh?
I think I will share it...tomorrow. 
Have an Oat-standing day! "Light fit...Oat-tastic! Physically, physically, physically fit!" Bwahaha. Yeah...I'm doing the crazy dance with the funny hat right now. 

Your Friend and Always My Very Best,
Chef Tess

P.S. If you happen to have a hard time finding any variety of oats in your area, I have a great Oat-source in Honeyville here that will ship any size order for 4.49$ shipping cost. Order a truck load, they won't mind. I love them. 

Oh...and if you are not able to make it to the class you can still get the notes:

Oat-Standing Class Notes Printable

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We love oats here too. I bought the 50lb oat groats from honeyville and grind my own flour in the blendtec. Oat flour is now the base of all my cookies and desserts. Also love steel cut oats in the morning. Nice to read a non-anti grain post.