Miller's Stone
Stemmlers 2016-17

Oats

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Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

August 1 - August 31

The last cereal grain to be domesticated in about 1000BC, hardy oats were able to tolerate the kind of poor soil conditions that thwarted other crops. For this reason, they became a popular staple in the cupboards of northern Europe and Asia where the climate was cooler and the soil sometimes shallow. Simmered as whole grains, oats provided a nutritious and filling gruel. While still an important food crop for humans, most oats grown today are produced for animal feed.  Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, oats are increasingly incorporated into cosmetics and skin care products.

Types of Oat Products

Oat groats are the whole grain of the oat, with the outer hard husk removed and then toasted.

Steel Cut Oats, Scottish Oats, or Irish Oats are whole groats that have been cut into two or three pieces.

Old Fashioned Rolled Oats are made by steaming the groats and flattening them with a roller into thin flakes.

Quick-cooking Rolled Oats are made by flattening steel cut oats.

Instant Oats are similar to the quick cooking variety, but thinner.

Storage

Unless you eat oats daily, buy smaller quantities since this grain has a slightly higher fat content than other grains and will go rancid more quickly. Store oats in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place where they will keep for approximately two months. Oat flour can be frozen to extend its shelf life.

Nutritional Information

With all oats, the bran remains attached to the grain, thereby creating a cereal rich in fibre and nutrients. Oat bran is believed to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol from the digestive system and possibly to reduce the risk of heart disease. Another cardio-protective mechanism exists with antioxidants unique to oats, the avenanthramides, which help protect against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Oats are a very good source of thiamin, magnesium phosphorus, selenium, and manganese.

One cup of cooked oats provides 145 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g carbohydrates, 4g dietary fibre, and 6g protein.

How to Use

Porridge is one of the most popular uses for oats. It is best to start by adding the oats to cold water, bringing to a boil and then cooking at a simmer. Use two parts water to one part oats for both rolled and steel-cut oats. Rolled oats take approximately 15 minutes to cook while the steel-cut variety takes about 30 minutes. When cooking whole oat groats, use three parts water to one part groats and simmer for approximately 50 minutes.

Oats can be added to cookies, pancakes, scones, oatcakes and most other baked goods. Oatbran can be sprinkled on cereal or yogourt or added to muffins and cookies.  Oat flour, finely ground whole oats, can replace some of the wheat flour called for in recipes to give a more chewy and dense texture to baked goods. But, because it is gluten free, it cannot substitute wholly for wheat flour.

Varieties

The milling industry prefers higher protein varieties with plump kernels and lower hull content. Today, there are dozens of varieties available to growers, some of which include 7600m, AC Morgan, Furlong, and SW Betania.