Know Your Oats
- Oat Groats The whole oats unprocessed are called oat groats. That is a bit confusing since the whole wheat kernels are know as wheat berries. They look basically the same as wheat berries.Whole groats aren’t as widely available as other forms of oats but it's what I buy to mill oat flour. If you are going to prepare them for a salad or use in a soup cook them like a wheat berry. .... Read How
- Old Fashioned Oats. These are the oat groats steamed and flattened, into thick flakes.
- Quick-Cooking Oats. These are rolled thinner, requiring less than half the cooking time of old fashioned rolled oats.
- Instant Oats. The thinnest, smallest flakes. True to their name, they just need boiling water and they’re done.
- Steel-Cut or Irish or Pinhead oats. These groats aren’t steamed first; they're chopped into pieces with a steel burr mill so they have a lot of texture and bite when cooked. Though there are quick-cooking varieties, traditional steel-cut oats take up to 30 minutes on the stove.
- Scottish Oats. Not a common find here, these are whole groats milled into a coarse, sandy texture similar to cornmeal and cook up into a thin, creamy porridge.
- Oat Bran. This is the fiber-rich layer of the oat kernel. In baking, oat bran adds heft and a nutty flavor. Cooked on its own, it’s Cream of Wheat–like. I use this to make Apple Oat Bran muffins, the oat bran gives the muffins a soft mouth feel and a good source of fiber.
- Oat Flour. Oats taken one step further in processing and ground all the way down into flour. Oat flour is very useful if you want to bake something with very little gluten. I use oat flour in my pie crust and short bread cookies. Not only do you get a lovely texture but a slightly nutty taste to the baked goods.
Keep all your oats in airtight containers in a dry, cool pantry so they don’t go rancid. The shelf live of oat groats is quite long about a year and half. Rolled oats also have a long shelf life if kept in a container away from heat and light. But once the oats are processed like oat flour you need to freeze it or put it into the refrigerator so if does not go rancid.
Janet Rausa Fuller / 04.19.16