What can I tell you about oats? There are several different variety and cuts of oats. The difference between groats, old fashioned, instant, etc can be confusing. Here’s a quick breakdown in the order of processing stages:
Oat Groats - Whole grain of the oat, with only the outer hard husks removed, then toasted.
Steel Cut Oats or Scottish Oats or Irish Oats- These are groats which have been cut into two or three pieces. Cooking time is considerably longer than for rolled oats.
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats - These are made by steaming the groats and flattening them with a roller.
Quick-cooking rolled oats -- These are made by flattening pre-cut groats. They cook in about 5 minutes.
Instant Oats - are usually packaged with salt and sugar.
Because of the antioxidants in oats, they are a good storing grain. Long ago, it was learned if oat groats were steamed first it would destroy enzymes that permitted oats to go rancid. Rolled oats can be stored for long periods of time and stay fresh. There are stories of a family opening up a well stored 25 year old can of rolled oats thinking they'd only be good to feed the chickens. But to their surprise, their rolled oats were still fresh and wholesome after all that time.
It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook regular rolled oats. Quick rolled oats, being thinner, cook much quicker in 2-3 minutes. And instant rolled oats, which have already been cooked then dehydrated, just need hot water added. As instant rolled oats are the least nutritious, you should think seriously about using them in your every day cooking habits instead of using the slower cooking quick oats. Instant oats certainly have their place, however, such as on camping trips and in your 72 hour kits.
Finally, it’s quite easy to make oat flour. Simply grind rolled oats in a food processor or blender. Oat flour add healthful benefits and wonderful flavor to breads and because of the natural preservative in the oats themselves, it improves their shelf life. Oats contain no gluten, which is needed for bread to rise, so it must be mixed with a gluten-containing flour such as wheat. Substitute 1 of every 5 parts of wheat flour with oat flour. If your recipe is for a quick bread, no addition of other flours is necessary.
I like oatmeal cookies but I’m not a fan of raisons. I’m not opposed to picking out the raisons, but it’s nice to enjoy an oatmeal cookie without fearing that I will bite into one. I found a really good recipe for raison-free oatmeal cookies. Of course you can add raisons, coconut or chocolate chips to this recipe, but they are quite good all on their own . . . crispy but not heavy. Very yummy and very easy.
Awesome Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 Cup Butter
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
3 Cups Rolled Oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together the shortening, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir in the egg, water and vanilla.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, stir into the creamed mixture.
Finally, stir in the rolled oats.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.