What are oat flakes? – The complete guide
Oats have been a staple of the human diet for over 4000 years, used in various forms such as porridge and beer. With modern methods of processing, packaging, and selling, questions can arise about this humble grain. One common form of oats is oatmeal, which is raw oats that have been ground into various sizes and shapes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the characteristics, uses, and nutritional benefits of oatmeal.
General questions about oatmeal
What are the most common oat cuts?
There are several stages in the processing of oats that result in different oat cuts:
- Whole oats: These are the seeds or kernels that come right out of the hull after being harvested.
- Steel-cut oats: These oats are cut into 2 or 3 pieces with sharp steel blades, making them quicker to cook and easier to digest.
- Ground oats: Also known as “white oats,” “milled oats,” or even “Scottish oats,” these oats have been stone-ground or milled instead of cut, resulting in uneven and varied pieces. Grinding oats for different lengths of time can produce either a creamy porridge or a powder.
- Oat Rolled: Hulled oats that have been steamed and flattened by rolling. They cook faster than other forms of oats because of the steaming process and their thinner texture. Thinner and longer-steamed rolled oats are known as quick rolled oats or instant oats.
- Oat Flour: Oat flour is made by grinding oats into a powder. Commercial processors can make oat flour directly from whole grains, but it can also be made at home using a standard food processor and rolled oats.
Are oats a grain?
Yes, oats are considered a cereal. Cereal grains, such as wheat, oats, corn, barley, rice, and a few others, are the most common edible grains. Legumes are generally considered a separate category.
Is oatmeal the same as oatmeal flour?
Ground oats and oatmeal are similar, but not exactly the same. Ground oats refers to oats that have been ground into smaller pieces, which is popular in Scotland and is often sold as “Scottish oatmeal”. Oat flour, on the other hand, is made by mixing or processing oats into a fine powder, usually in a food processor. Grinding oats for a longer period of time results in oat flour. Ground oats are typically used in porridge recipes, while oat flour is commonly used in baking.
What is the best brand of oatmeal?
In the United States, Quaker brand oats are the most popular. However, brands such as Bob’s Red Mill, Nature’s Path, and 365 Everyday Value (available on Amazon) are also highly regarded for their quality, including organic options and production quality guarantees.
Ground Oats Nutrition
Are oats carbohydrates?
Oats are rich in carbohydrates. As a whole grain, they are also a great source of fiber with no added sugar. Oats also contain protein and a small amount of fat. In a 100g serving of raw oats, you can expect to get about
- 390 calories
- 7g of fat
- 66g carbohydrates, including almost 11g fiber
- 17g of protein
Are oats fattening?
Oats themselves are generally considered a healthy addition to a balanced diet. They can help with weight management, hunger control, and appetite regulation. However, processed and packaged oat products often contain refined sugars, additives, and other ingredients that can contribute to weight gain and unhealthy eating habits. To avoid weight gain, choose oats that are 100% oats and watch portion sizes.
Are oats wheat or gluten free?
Oats are not wheat and are considered a gluten-free grain. People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy baked goods made with ground oat flour as a substitute for wheat flour. However, it’s important to note that oats are often processed in facilities that also handle wheat products. To avoid cross-contamination, individuals with extreme sensitivities should look for oats that are labeled “gluten-free” or processed in gluten-free facilities.
Is oat flour healthy?
Oat flour is a nutritious option that is considered a healthier alternative to regular all-purpose flour. It contains more protein, fiber and nutrients, while being lower in carbohydrates. Oat flour is naturally gluten-free and provides essential minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
Can oats cause gas, bloating, or constipation?
Eating a hearty meal of oatmeal every day, especially if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods, may cause some digestive discomfort until your body adjusts. If you are new to eating vegetables and whole grains, including oats, it is recommended that you gradually increase your intake to allow your digestive system to adjust. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to aid digestion and prevent constipation.
Uses of Ground Oats
Ground oats can be used in a variety of ways in cooking and baking. Here are some common uses:
– Oatmeal cookies: Ground oats can add texture and flavor to oatmeal cookies.
– Breads and muffins: Oat flour can be used as a partial replacement for all-purpose flour in bread and muffin recipes, adding nutrition and a nutty flavor.
– Pancakes and waffles: Oat flour can be incorporated into pancake and waffle batters for a heartier and more nutritious option.
– Pie Crusts: Ground oats can be used as a base for pie crusts, providing a unique texture and flavor.
In the kitchen:
– Porridge: Ground oats can be cooked into a creamy porridge by simmering with water or milk. The consistency can be adjusted by adding more or less liquid.
– Meat Coatings: Ground oats can be used as a coating for meat, providing a crispy texture when baked or fried.
– Thickeners: Ground oats can be used as a natural thickener in soups, stews and sauces.
– Smoothies: Ground oats can be added to smoothies for added fiber and a creamy texture.
– DIY Oat Milk: Ground oats can be used to make homemade oat milk as a dairy-free alternative.
Ground oats are a versatile ingredient with many culinary possibilities. Whether used in baking, cooking, or beverages, ground oats provide nutritional benefits, including fiber, protein, and essential minerals. They can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet, especially when prepared with minimal processing and no added sugars or refined ingredients. Incorporating ground oats into your recipes can enhance both the taste and nutritional value of your meals.