Know Your Ingredients Ep.4 Oat
Updated: Feb 3
Welcome to Illustrator’s Kitchen, a guide to your tasty journey.
Today’s ingredient is… Oat!
Oats are well known for super nutritious grain. Nowadays, Oat products such as oat beverages, granola, muesli and oatmeal are very popular and trendy.
I have been eating overnight oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning.
I certainly feel more lively than before.
When I did research for this blog post , I learned many health benefits and fun history about oats.
I can’t wait to share them with you!
Let’s find out why people around the world love oats!
What is Oat?
Scientific Name: Avena sativa
Oats are a whole grain cereal.
They are best grown in temperate regions.
Since they can have less summer heat and excessive rain than other grains like wheat, barley and rye, oats are important crops for regions with cool and wet summer.
More than half of production is coming from Northwest America and Europe.
Russia and Canada are the top two oats producing countries!
Oats are an annual plant. They can be planted either in fall (for late summer harvest) or in the spring (for early fall harvest).
Oat groats are whole grains that include the cereal germ, bran, and endosperm.
Because the whole grain tends to take a long time to cook, products like rolled, crushed or steel-cut oats are made for faster cooking.
Oats are commonly eaten as oatmeal (oats porridge), boiling oats in water or milk.
So oats are whole grains and oatmeal is oats porridge!
History of Oat
Scientists think that the ancestor of oats is coming from Asian wild red oats which grew as a weed in other grain crops.
Fun fact about oats:
Historically, many cultures considered oats are for animals!
People use oats to feed livestock such as horses, sheep, and chickens.
Only 10% of oats produced is used for human consumption.
Greeks and Romans thought that oats are diseased wheat.
However, oats became a staple in German, Ireland, Scotland and the Scandinavian countries, probably because oats can endure cool wet summer climates better than other grains.
Oats were introduced to America by English and German settlers in the 1600s.
In the 1980s, oats were recognized for highly nutritious and functional food.
Nowadays, oats are getting more popular.
People eat oats not only for oatmeal porridge but also for bread, rolls, muesli, granola, cookies, cakes and so on.
Nutrition & Health Benefits of Oat
You probably heard that eating oats is a healthy diet.
It is true!
Oats are one of the Top 10 super food lists that Times magazine selected.
Oats are highly nutritious.
They are a good source of carbs in fiber and protein with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Oats contain more protein and fat than most grains.
So I incorporate oats in rice or bread to get more protein and fat from my regular diet.
Oats are high in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber, which has many benefits such as reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Also, because soluble fiber is a good food source for gut bacteria, it helps improve your digestive system.
Oatmeal may help you lose weight by making you feel more full.
Whenever I am on diet, my go-to breakfast menu is overnight oatmeal.
It is quick, easy, nutritious and most importantly, it makes me full for a long period of time!
Types of Oats
Whole oats (Groats)
Groats are whole grain without inedible hard outer hulls of the oats.
They look like brown rice due to the outer bran layer.
It may take a long time to cook.
Steel cut oats
Steel cut oats are oat kernels that have been cut into two or three pieced by a metal blade.
These are quicker to cook than whole oats.
Scottish oats are whole oat groats that have been ground.
They are not steamed, rolled or cut like other types of oats, but rather ground.
However, Scottish oats are coarser than oat flour.
It is perfect for porridge style oats with a creamy texture.
Rolled oats or Oat flakes
Rolled oats are whole oats steamed and then rolled them into flakes.
This process helps to cook faster than steel cut oats.
Quick oats or Instant oats
Quick oats or instant oats are rolled oats but cut into smaller sizes and rolled thinner.
If you are running out of time, these oats are the fastest way to eat oatmeal.
Like wheat flour, oat flour is made by milling the whole grain into a fine flour for baking and cooking.
Oats Brand Recommendation
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Extra Thick Rolled Oats
What I like about this product:
First of all, it’s organic.
Second, oh, it’s so thick!
These are perfect rolled oats for making granola and cookies with great texture.
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
What I like about this product:
Again, it’s organic!
These oats are old fashioned rolled oats and they are PERFECT for oatmeal.
I strongly recommend this one for overnight oatmeal!
Flahavan's Jumbo Oats
What I like about this product:
I support this company’s philosophy: sustainability has always been a major part of their family business.
They use renewable energy when they do milling.
Flahavan's use the oat husk, a by-product and outer shell of the oat to power the boiler, which in turn generates the steam for cooking.
“We’re very proud to say that 70% of our company’s total energy requirements are self-generated on site through our wind turbine, water turbine and solar panels, and 100% of our electricity supply comes from renewable resources. Nature has always been good to us, so in return, we make every effort to look after it too. -Flahavan's”
It is locally grown and locally produced in Ireland.
“We’re all aware that the ‘air miles’ used in shipping foods and ingredients all have a negative impact on our environment. That’s why at Flahavan’s we’re proud to source our conventional oats from farms within a 60-mile radius of our Mill.- Flahavan's”
And of course, their oats taste great!
However, sometimes I bite some oat husks in my oatmeal.
I wish they would remove the husks more delicately!
How to use Oats
There are so many ways to eat oatmeal.
Some prefer boiling oats with water, others prefer boiling oats with milk.
I personally like cold oatmeal, so I eat overnight oatmeal (soaking in milk the night before) for breakfast with rolled oats.
My favorite oatmeal cookies are oatmeal raisin cookies and peanut butter oatmeal cookies!
Homemade granola is always the best!
I do like some products from grocery stores but I cannot resist the taste of freshly baked granola right out of the oven.
What is the difference between granola and muesli?
They both mix oats, nuts, fruits and seeds.
Granola is baked, however, muesli is unbaked.
Add oat flour when you bake!
It is a simple and easy way to get more protein and fiber in your diet.
Mix with rice
I strongly recommend mixing whole grain oats with white rice for any kinds of rice based Asian food.
If you like brown rice texture, you will love cooked whole grain oat texture as well!
Oat beverage (so called, Oat Milk)
Oat milk is a dairy-free, vegan-friendly milk substitute.
It is pretty easy to make by soaking, blending, and straining oats.
My personal favorite oat milk brand is Oatly.
I found that Oat milk is a great pair with coffee. I even prefer oat milk over cow milk!
Make sure you use full fat oat milk for coffee because reduced fat will make it bland.
Oatly also sells barista versions of oat milk, so please try and let me know in the comment if you like it or not!
For Skin care
You may have heard that some skin care products are made from oat extraction.
Oats help treat dry and itchy skin.
Here I recommend this moisturizer made with oat extraction!
Click link below for Oat skin care product:
For Cat Grass?
Even cats can eat oat grass!
Feeding cat grass will help your cat’s digestive system.
Oat, so good!
Oats were traditionally for livestock animals, and humans favor wheat or rice over oats. However, slowly yet surely, oats became popular cereals.
Oats are super food!
They contain a great amount of soluble fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Oats can be used in many ways not only just for baking and cooking, but also for skin care!
Oatmeal is a great healthy option for people with a busy lifestyle. It’s simple and natural food.
For my upcoming post, I will work on “8 ways to eat Oats”. I would love to share my top 8 recipes using oats with you.
If you like reading the post, check out my other blog post about healthy ingredients, delicious recipes, and restaurant recommendations!
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Thank you guys! See you soon!