My family and I love oat groats. When I placed an order for an entire case of oat groats and they arrived at our doorstep, my teenage daughter cheered! They are one of her favorite breakfast foods.
As you know, oats have many excellent nutritional qualities. We hear all the time about oat bran’s ability to help lower our cholesterol and oatmeal is one of my favorite foods to store in my own food storage pantry, but what makes oat groats different?
Oat groats are the untreated, natural, hulled oats with the outermost inedible chaff, or hull, removed. Are these any better for us than rolled oats or quick oats? Yes, they are. When rolled oats, or oatmeal, are made, the process begins with the oat groat which is soaked in water and then pressed. At this point, some of the fiber and nutrition is lost. Even more fiber and nutrition are lost in the process of making quick oats and more still with instant oats.
Okay, we know oat groats are better for us, but how are we supposed to use them? They are at their best when used as is in hot cereal or when ground into flour. They’re sweet and add some moisture to your baking, which is perfect for muffins, pancakes, and quick breads.
What about using these wonderful oat groats on their own for breakfast? I tried out a recipe just for you and am so happy I did. It’s super easy and is very nutritious for you and your family.
Slow-Cooked Oat Groats
1 ½ cups whole oat groats
6 ½ cups water
Pinch of salt
Combine everything in a 3-5 quart crockpot. Cook on low overnight or for about 7-9 hours. You can remove the lid during the last few minutes to thicken it up. Discard the cinnamon stick. Sweeten with brown sugar or raisins if desired. You could also add apples. Serves 6-8.
Grinding oat groats
It’s a very smart idea to have multiple grains in your food storage pantry that can be used in a variety of ways, from grinding them for flour to cooking them whole. This complete guide to food storage grains will be very helpful as you build your own emergency food storage.
The best advice I can give you for grinding groats or any other grain is to verify that the grain mill you own is suitable for that particular grain. Many well-meaning people damage their sometimes-expensive mills by grinding things the burrs were never meant to grind! Check with the manufacturer’s instructions first, to be on the safe side.
As with any other grain, including wheat, there’s no point in grinding a massive amount of flour unless you’ll be using it within 30 days or so. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but since I don’t love pulling out my grain mill all the time, nor do I care to store several pounds of ground groats with no definite plan to use them, I’ve found the 30-day rule works for me.
How to store oat groats
Once ground into flour, store it in a tightly sealed container. As with any food, it will be affected over time by heat, humidity, oxygen, and light. You can read about those “enemies of food storage” as I call them, in this article.
Whole groats will naturally have a longer shelf life if stored properly because the protective hull is still in place. I prefer storing groats and all other grains in small plastic buckets like this one, with a lid that provides an airtight seal. Since I have smaller amounts of groats, I also like this lighter container that holds a little over a gallon. If you won’t be opening the bucket or other container for more than 6 months, add an appropriate sized oxygen absorber to protect the food from oxygenation.
So, go enjoy those oat groats! Cook them up in a hot breakfast cereal and experiment with different additions. Grind a few cups into flour and try a half-and-half blend with all-purpose flour or freshly ground wheat to bake something amazing for your family!
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