Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All About Oats!

It seems like there are so many types of oats, and I never know which ones to buy! Let’s break down all the types and see how they are different.

All types of oats are cleaned, hulled, and conditioned, which removes the outer shell (called a hull), leaving the inner kernel or “oat groat”. Then, the groats are heated and become stable for storage. From there, the groats are processed differently depending on what type of oatmeal they are being made into. The type of oats you have (regular, quick, etc) all depends on how thinly the oats were rolled. The thinner the rolling, the quicker the oats cook because of the greater surface area. Makes sense to me!

Regular Oats: These are made by steaming the groats and flattening them with a roller. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats are thinly rolled.

Quick Oats: Quick oats are rolled oats that have been cut into small pieces, then steamed and rolled extremely thinly (more thinly than regular). Because they are so thin, they cook very quickly.

Instant Oats: Instant oatmeal is thinly rolled, then pre-cooked and dried, usually with sweetener and flavor added to it. Just add hot water and stir.

Steel-cut oats (pictured above): Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats which have been cut into only 2 or 3 pieces. They look a bit like small pieces of rice. Many people prefer the taste and texture of steel-cut oats over regular or instant oats. The only real disadvantage of steel-cut oats is that they take a bit longer to cook.

Both regular and quick oats can be used interchangeably in most recipes – it simply depends on the results you are looking for. If you want something that looks very whole grain and is chewy, you’ll want to use regular oats. Quick oats, on the other hand, are cut smaller and are less noticeable in recipes.

As you gather oats for your longer-term storage, consider how much your family eats it and factor that in. If your family doesn't eat oats often, consider trying them in some different ways - maybe it will be a big hit! Oats are so healthy, and they store really well, so it's perfect for your food storage!
Image courtesy of wikipedia.


Becca said...

Good tutorial on oats. I always wondered what the steel cut oats were because I've never been able to find them. It seems my grocery stores only have regular and instant. Where do you get them from?

tara said...

My grocery store sells steel cut oats in the health section, with the pasta and the gluten-free niche they have. I know you can find them at health food stores as well. A small bag from either place runs about $2.50-$2.69.

texasblu said...

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MeadowLark said...

We only eat steel-cut oats these days, but you have me thinking... I wonder if rolled-oats would be a good thing to add to my eating/storage plan. Do they last longer? They are probably cheaper?

What sez you?

Kristianna said...

We love oats here! I make a fancy 'Baked Oatmeal" breakfast for my family or just cook them in a pot. I also grind up whole oats in the blender to use as flour for lots of different baking and cooking recipes.

Great post. Thanks!


d.a. said...

Great explanation!

Ashley said...

Thanks. I have been wondering about this. You guys are a great resource.

Sara R said...

I'm glad you're giving the details on oats! I grew up with instant oatmeal packets, so it was a surprise to me to find out that you could make quick oats taste like instant oatmeal without bothering with the blender and little baggies. Here is my post about it, in case there are any others out there who love instant oatmeal.

Katie said...

I bought a 50-lb bag of rolled oats, and I have some 5 gallon plastic buckets. What do I need to do to store the oats properly?