Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Who knew; oats were used as a natural preservative. Back in the days before comercial preservatives, bakers would throw a bit of ground oats into their breads and cakes to keep them from going stale. When I make homemade bread I throw in some oats or oat flour. The bread  keeps several days longer than when I make it with only wheat. I also enjoy the flavor and added texture.

                                                                  © Sergey76 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Around the world oats have been used for natural remedies.
In Russia, oatmeal and mustard plaster is believed to stave off Pneumonia.
In Scotland, oats and rosewater are used to soften rough hands and knees.
In Japan, cold oatmeal stuffed in the nose is used to stop a nosebleed.
In Rio de Janerio oats are boiled in wine and used as a facial mask.
In Germany, oatmeal and fried onions are used to get rid of hangovers.
The French peasants chewed oats after eating garlic to freshen up their breath.

It is surprising to know that 85% of the crop grown in the United States is used for livestock feed.  It is a shame that we feed the good grains to our animals. Oats have been proven to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease. Oats are full of fiber and nutrition. It has many of the B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium and iron. Oats are a powerhouse of nutrition, but have been given a bad name, often being labeled as the food of the poor people. It is the easiest of all the grains to obtain right in your local grocery store, and one of the most beneficial.  I hope that you will take a second look at oats and what a great addition they can be in your diet and other areas of life.

  • Oat groats: unflattened kernels: only the hard outer hull has been removed. good for breakfast, tossed in salads, or stuffing.
  • Steel-cut  ( also known as Scotch or Irish) oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them. This cuts the cooking time down quite a bit.
  • Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled. To flatten them into a flake that cooks rather quickly (5 minutes)
  • Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut into pieces before rolling into small, quick cooking flakes (1 minute)
  • Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains, cutting them finely, and then rolling them very thin. This variety of oats can be cooked with only hot water. One downfall of instant oats is the addition of salt, sugar, and other ingredients to flavor the cereal.  
  • Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
  • Oat flour: used in baking, it is usually combined with other grains for bread baking because of its lack of gluten.

Old fashioned and quick cooking oats are the most popular form of oats. They are easily found in the cereal isle of your local grocery store. They are easily stored in your pantry right in the canister they come in. The others are found in bulk sections of the stores. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Instant oatmeal has really taken off. They are convenient, but are so often full of chemical additives and flavors that I would shun them. You can make your own instant oatmeal packets by processing down the oats into smaller bits and adding your own flavorings. I will add a link below.  For a hurried morning you could also try a soaked method where you do not cook the oats in the morning, but soak the oats overnight and then it is softened and ready to go in the morning.  I will add a link for that also.

Oats are not just for breakfast, In the whole form, they make a great addition to soups and salads and breads. They can be used as a gluten free substitute for bread crumbs. They are great in many baked goods even beyond oatmeal cookies. They can add a delightful nutty flavor to many dishes.

Below are some helpful links, plus a recipe for a chocolate oat and nut crust that I thought sounded divine.

wise geek what are oats?

live strong

make your own instant oatmeal packets

yummy life refrigerator oatmeal

Chocolate oat and nut crust

Preheat oven to 375

in a food processor

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup whole roasted almonds
1/3 cup sugar
Process until finely ground
Transfer to a bowl an mix in

1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
1/2 ounce (1/2 square) unsweetened chocolate melted

Mix well, then press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate
bake 5 minutes at 375


  1. We did homemade "instant oatmeal" packets a couple of weeks ago and they are a big hit here. The kids especially like the fact that they are twice as big as the tiny ones Quaker makes.

  2. Great tips! I never would have thought to use oatmeal in soup but now I'll have to try it!

    Visiting from the Backyard Farming Connection :)

  3. i agree - there is no need to feed animals grains. we should reserve them for us (hello, happy full bellies) and leave the grass to the cows (hello, happy cows).

    thank you for sharing with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! I hope to see you again this week with more seasonal & fresh/real food posts. xo, kristy

  4. Oats are a great food and wonderful for breast milk production too! Thank you for sharing on Natural Living Mondays! I am excited to see what you have going on this week.

  5. Thank you for this great post on oats. I adore oats and add them to my smoothies every morning and my pancakes. I have a post on the benefits of oats and some photos of the different types of oats if you are interested. It also explains the best type of oats to add to your smoothies. Many thanks