are identified with by most people as a breakfast meal and are commonly taken
with milk, either as an uncooked dish of muesli or as a hot dish of oatmeal or
porridge. The oats are made from whole oat grains that have been de-husked and
then heat-treated to stabilize the seed (also referred to as the kernal or
groat) and end up looking like a grain of rice. These kernals undergo a further
stage in processing before being sold as a specific style of oats for consumers
to buy. This final stage affects the texture and final cooking time of the
oats, but the nutritional value is generally the same:
that have been steamed and rolled flat and look like flakes. They take about 10
- 20 minutes to cook. Interesting Trivia: According to the Quaker Oats Company
an 18-ounze pack of their Old-Fashioned style contains approximately 26,000
that have been steamed longer and/or rolled a little thinner than standard
rolled oats and are often cut into several pieces. The end result is they cook
quicker i.e. in about 2 - 5 minutes.
that have been cut into several pieces using a steel blade (or partially stone
ground in the case of Scottish oats) and not rolled flat like other styles.
They take about 25 - 40 minutes to cook and are chewy in texture with a nutty
and hearty flavor. Although these take the longest time to cook they can be
added to soups and stews or cooked overnight in a crock-pot (or slow cooker) to
provide ready-made oatmeal in the morning.
that have been cooked and dried before being rolled. They are easily rehydrated
by adding hot liquid (water, milk etc.) and are ready to eat (hence the term
“instant”). The additional processing may make these a less healthy option,
with many manufacturers adding sweetners, flavorings, sodium and other
chemicals. If using instant oats, the ideal is look for ones with less than a
quarter ounce of sugar and no flavorings.
Looking at the difference in
cooking times and place this alongside the busy and frantic mornings
encountered in many households, suddenly necessity becomes the mother of invention.
However, the less processed the oats are the lower they come on the glycemic
scale i.e. the lower they come on this scale, the longer it takes for the food
to break down and thus making you feel full longer with more even blood sugar
levels (as opposed to high blood sugar spikes).
You can also get Oat Flour and Oat Bran, both of which can be used in
baking (for breads, cakes etc.); as a thickener agent; in smoothies to increase
fiber content; and many other ways. Think of where you might use flour and
these can replace some or all of your usual flour.