Oats contain heart healthy ingredients and find a prominent place in the world’s healthiest food list. This explains why for centuries mankind has trusted and acknowledged oat bran as a precious, nutritious food. To many, oat cereal is merely a convenient breakfast cereal. Besides providing for a nutritious breakfast cereal, there are lots of different forms to enjoy oats. Explore the versatility of oats. Find ideas and try oats in different forms – Break away from the hitherto customized oat-eating regime. Oatmeal, oat bran and oat cereal are equally nutritious and facilitate a makeover. Check out classic oat recipes.
Wholesome oats or Avena Sativa
The scientific name used to refer oats is Avena Sativa. Oats belong to the family of grains (seeds), also called cereal. All grains contain abundant complex carbohydrates, the primary energy provider required everyday. The structure of oats grain includes the hull, the bran, endosperm and germ. There are hundreds of varieties of oats, the colors varying from light beige and yellow to reddish-gray or black. The grains when processed shed the outer covering which is the hull. Only then, oats are ready for human consumption. Oats are processed by adopting methods like steaming, rolling, cutting and grinding. These processing methods provide a distinctive roasted flavor to the oat product. The final products are termed as oat bran, oat flakes, oatmeal and oat flour.
Bran: the coarse outer layer of oats kernel contains ample fiber, starch, B vitamins, minerals, proteins and iron. Oat bran is widely used as a cereal.
Endosperm: the middle layer of the grain is rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
Germ: is the heart of the grain with most vitamins and minerals.
Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal are good source of nutrition. Low in fat with zero cholesterol, all forms of oats contain concentrated source of nutrients like magnesium, iron, silicon, potassium, Zinc, Vitamin B1, Calcium, Vitamin E and high quality protein. If you wish to achieve the recommended dietary guidelines for Americans, your whole grain intake should be at least three servings (equal to 3 ounces, 1 ounce = 28.35 grams) of whole grains per day.
Rolled oats: Oat groats (whole oat kernels with outer hull duly removed) are steamed, rolled by steel rollers and turned into flakes. This process helps reduce the cooking time. Rolled oats can be eaten as a hot or cold cereal, added to granola in its natural form and used in baked goods like cookies, bread and chocolate bars. The cooking time is as less as 5 minutes. Rolled oats are otherwise known as old-fashioned oats.
Oatmeal: Oat groats are cut into very small thin pieces and processed. Oatmeal requires no precooking and can just be added to hot liquid. Oatmeal of popular brands is available in different flavors like sugar, salt, spices or fruit. While using oatmeal as an accompanying ingredient or a substitute, select the right oatmeal flavor to bring the desired taste.
Oat bran: The ground outer layer of the oat grain. When used in cooking, or baking adds texture and flavor.
Oat flour: Flour obtained by grounding oat groats, oatmeal or rolled oats. Using in soups as a thickening agent, in cooking for additional nutritional requirement or while baking foods.
Oatmeal, oat bran – health benefits
- High in calcium, oatmeal aids building strong bones and teeth
- Inositol in oats helps lower blood cholesterol levels
- High soluble fiber keeps constipation at bay
- Ideal food for diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis
- Low glycemic index in oats help maintain blood glucose levels
- Low in fat, oat bran help lower blood sugar in diabetic patients.
- A natural antidepressant, oatmeal helps fight depression
- Prevents cardiovascular disease
- Fiber rich oat bran provides a sense of fullness, aids good sleep
- Controls appetite, checks weight gain
- Slows cell damage
- Reduces risk of cancer of the bowel
- Anti- carcinogens in oat bran avert colon cancer
- Aids women cope with ovarian and uterine problems
- Rejuvenates endocrine systems, enhances sexual pleasure.
Oats if stored properly remain good for use for long periods. The presence of high levels of antioxidants prevents oats turning rancid thereby extending shelf life. Any form or variation of oats stored in an airtight plastic or glass container in a cool, dry place remain fit for use up to 6 months. Another way to extend its longevity is to freeze in a moisture- and vapor-proof container.
Rolled oats provide for a quick, nutritious, wholesome breakfast cereal on a busy morning. Not merely a breakfast cereal, there are hundreds of easy, delicious oat recipes. Oats have a natural nutty flavor and chewy texture. Simple ways of using oats as a nutritive substitute or an as accompanying ingredient:
- Add oats to meatloaf or meatballs for a moist texture and nutty flavor
- Instead of corn flour or breadcrumbs, use coarse oatmeal as coating for chicken and fish recipes or while frying fish and potato fingers.
- While baking, use oat bran for additional flavor and texture.
- Prepare muffins, biscuits, pancakes, replacing one-third flour with oats
- Yeast breads, cookies and bars taste delicious if oats is mixed with base flour
- Few teaspoons of fine oats thicken soups and adds delicious flavor.
- Substitute nuts with oat toppings in desserts
- Microwave oats at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes. Let it cool. Toss over vegetable, fruit or egg salad for crispy texture.
- Add few teaspoons of old-fashioned oats to blender while making fruit, yogurt or parfait recipes.
Oatmeal cookies: Ready to eat any time nutritious dish.
- Take a large wide bowl. Stir 3 fresh eggs, 1-cup brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar. To this mixture add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Immediately add one-cup vegetable oil and mix well without lumps..
- Take another wide bowl; transfer 2 cups of flour (wheat, maize or rice) and 2 cups of oats. Combine the ingredients and set aside.
- Transfer flour mixture into egg mixture, ½ a cup at a time.
- Stir well to ensure mixture is mixed well.
- Take 2 cups chocolate chips
- Transfer flour and egg mixture and blend well.
- Spread the entire mixture onto a baking sheet.
- Bake in oven (350F), set timer for 13 minutes.
- Remove and allow it to cool for 3 minutes.
- Cut into squares or any easy shape.
- Cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Chocolate cookies are ready.
Oatmeal snack recipe
- Beat 2 eggs and mix in ¼ cup of vegetable oil and ½ cup of sorghum molasses.
- Add to the mixture 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup oats (any form), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup chopped walnuts (or any nut) and ¾ cup fresh shredded coconut.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Take an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Transfer mixture using a teaspoon.
- Spread mixture evenly and flatten with fork.
- Bake in oven for 10 minutes set at 350F
- Remove and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.