Despite this week’s warm snap, the cold weather is still here. Nothing is better in the morning than a hot cup of coffee (ESCR Machipongo Morning is so good!) and a bowl of oatmeal. Have you ever stood in the store and wondered why there are so many different types? I sure have! Here is a quick lesson on what you might see.
Oatmeal is made from oat groats. Isn’t that a funny word? Groats. This is the whole unbroken grain kernel that has had the hull removed and has had a "light kilning" to stabillize the oils. So, the difference between steel cut, rolled and instant oats is how they are processed.
One of my favorites, for its chewy, hearty texture is steel cut oats sometimes called Scottish or Irish Oats. These are groats that are chopped. They do take the longest to cook, but they are worth the wait. They can be used in meatloaf, added to stuffing, and of course, eaten as breakfast.
Rolled oats, also known as old fashioned oats are steamed and then flattened. They cook quicker than steel cut oats, but still take some time. Again, worth the wait. They are great to use in granola bars, cookies, muffins and other baked goods.
Lastly, we have instant oats. As the name states, they cook instantly, or within a few minutes. These are the most processed. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then pressed. If you are looking for a quick, hearty bowl of oatmeal, this is your go-to. These are great to use in overnight oats, too!
Here are a few add-in ideas to try in your next bowl of oatmeal:
- Chopped nuts and dried fruit
- Yogurt and granola
- Sliced berries
- Dash of cinnamon and brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- Sliced bananas and chocolate chips (kid friendly)
- Drizzle of honey, cinnamon and chopped nuts
- Grated carrots and raisins
No matter which oatmeal you choose, they all have the same health benefits. Oatmeal contains fiber, omega-3, thiamine, and iron. They can lower cholesterol and even boost your immune system. Some studies have shown that eaten 3 hours before a workout or run, oatmeal can increase your endurance and burn body fat quickly. Sounds like a win-win!
Not sure if you want to eat it for breakfast? That’s ok. Here are some of the other great uses of oatmeal. So, before you throw out that old oatmeal that you haven’t eaten, try these ideas instead.
- Use in place of baking soda to absorb odors
- To relieve skin irritations such as poison ivy, sunburn, and sores
- Use in your bath to soften and moisturize your skin (also good for doggies)
- As a face mask or make an exfoliating scrub
- Use to make nontoxic modeling clay for kids crafts
- Clean up an oil spill by using oatmeal (let sit for 10 mins- easy clean up!)