Oats are sold in many different forms, from the wholegrain known as groats, to steel cut or Scotch oats, to ground oats known as oatmeal. Oats are milled into flour to make bread but their most common form is rolled oats. Stabilised oats are the most common form of rolled oats: they are steamed to destroy enzymes.
Raw oats contain lipolytic enzymes, which break down the fat in the grain to free fatty acids, which in turn changes its flavor to rancid. In order to avoid this, cleaned groats are subjected to heating by dry heat radiators in a kiln. After heating to a temperature of 215 degree Fahrenheit, the steam produced by the heat inactivate the lipolytic enzymes. This process is unavoidable, because after dehulling, the flavor of groats will change to rancid within four days, unless stabilized by the above said process. This treatment also gives a nutty flavor to the oats.
Whole oats (groats) and coarse rolled oats
Domesticated oats are considered a relatively new grain, a secondary crop which was probably derived from the weed of primary cereal grains like wheat or barley. Once thought of as animal fodder, but traditionally a staple in many Scottish dishes from oatcakes to haggis, oats are now a popular health food.
Oats are high in energy and are renowned for their ability to help lower cholesterol levels. They contain more soluble fibre and protein than any other grain. The protein is of a very high quality, similar to that in soy beans. Interestingly the major protein in oats is not associated with gluten intolerances or Coeliac disease and for this reason ‘pure oats’ (grown in low wheat producing areas) are very controversially said to be safe for a gluten free diet.
Oats are a dynamic grain, however they are most commonly associated with porridge- rightly so, because they produce a beautifully creamy bowl! Groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats and oatmeal can all be used but as a rule of thumb the best porridge comes from the larger, least processed grain.
Flour Oat flour and oatmeal are used with other flours or by themselves to bake breads and other hearty items such as oatcakes, pancakes and muffins. Oat flour is not widely available in retail outlets, but a raggy oat flour can be made at home by blitzing unstabilised oats in a food processor.
Rolled Rolled oats are often used to make porridge, and are also the main ingredient in soaked Bircher muesli. They make a perfect granola or crumble topping when baked.
Other derivatives Oat milk is available as an impressively creamy and sweet alternative to dairy and soy milks. -- Pureharvest Organic oat Milk is available in 1lt UHT cartons
Rolled oats are traditionally oat groats that have been rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers and then steamed and lightly toasted. Our Regular Rolled oats are put through rollers that are 32mm apart whereas for our Quick oats the rollers are only 24mm apart.
The oat, like the other cereals, has a hard, inedible outer husk that must be removed before the grain can be eaten. After the outer husk (or chaff) has been removed from the still bran-covered oat grains, the remainder is called oat groats. Oat groats are a whole grain that can be used as a breakfast cereal. Steel-cut oats are oat groats that have been chopped into smaller pieces and retain bits of the bran layer. Since the bran layer, though nutritious, makes the grains tough to chew and contains an enzyme that can cause the oats to go rancid, raw oat groats are often further steam-treated to soften them for a quicker cooking time (modern "quick oats") and to denature the enzymes for a longer shelf life.
Rolled oats that are sold as oatmeal usually, but not always, have had the tough bran removed. They have often, but not always, been lightly baked or pressure-cooked or "processed" in some fashion. Thick-rolled oats are large whole flakes, and thin-rolled oats are smaller, fragmented flakes. Oat flakes that are simply rolled whole oats without further processing can be cooked and eaten as "old-fashioned" oatmeal, but more highly fragmented and processed rolled oats absorb water much more easily and therefore cook faster, so they are sometimes called "quick" or "instant" oatmeal. Oatmeal can be further processed into coarse powder, which, when cooked, becomes a thick broth. Finer oatmeal powder is often used as baby food. Rolled oats are also often the main ingredient in granola and muesli.
Whole oats are an excellent source of thiamine, iron, and dietary fiber. Fiber is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Whole oats are also the only source of antioxidant compounds known as avenanthramides; these are believed to have properties which help to protect the circulatory system from arteriosclerosis. Oat products also contain beta-glucan, which may help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood glucose level, and might also help stimulate the immune system to fight off bacterial infections.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,607 kJ (384 kcal)
Carbohydrates 67 g
- Sugars 1 g
- Dietary fibre 10 g
Fat 6 g
Protein 16 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.7 mg (54%)
Vitamin E 0.7 mg (5%)
Iron 4 mg (32%)
Phosphorus 474 mg (68%)
β-glucan (soluble fiber)* 4 g