Oats are a versatile, whole grain cereal that is widely consumed for their numerous health benefits and culinary uses. They are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. Oats are often used as a nutritious breakfast staple, offering slow release energy and promoting satiety that can help maintain a healthy weight.
In addition to their traditional use in porridge or oatmeal, oats can be utilized in various cooking applications, such as baking, overnight oats, and granola. They can also be ground into oat flour to serve as a gluten-free alternative in various recipes.
Oats are a type of whole grain cereal that are loved for their health benefits which include high fibre, protein, vitamins, and key minerals. Most people use them for breakfast meals like oatmeal and porridge because they release energy slowly and keep one feeling full for long. Furthermore, oats are very versatile and can be incorporated into your diet in plenty of ways such as in baking, as overnight oats, in granolas and even as a flour substitute.
One common mistake when cooking oats is not using the right liquid ratio which can result in a mushy or overly thick texture. For steel-cut oats, the ratio might be 4:1 liquid to oats whereas for rolled oats, it's often 2:1. Always check the instructions on the packaging, or use your taste as the best guide on texture.
Another area where people falter is in the assumption that oats are boring or bland. When prepared correctly and with a few simple additions like fresh fruit, nuts, and a little sweetener or spices, they can be incredibly flavorful and satisfying.
To get the most out of oats, always buy them in their least processed form as the more processing they undergo, the less nutritious they end up being. Whole oat groats are the least processed, followed by steel cut oats, then rolled oats and lastly, quick oats which tend to be the most processed.
Most oats are gluten-free. However, if you have celiac disease, it’s important to look for oats that are labelled gluten-free as some oats can be contaminated by wheat during processing.
What's the difference between quick oats and rolled oats?
Do oats need to be soaked before cooking?
Can I use oats as a substitute for flour?
Do oats absorb water?
Why are my oats always mushy?
Can oats be eaten raw?
Are oats gluten-free?
How can I make my oats more flavorful?
Are oats good for losing weight?
Can you overcook oats?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does oats expire?
Unopened oats can last up to two years past their ‘best by’ date if stored correctly, thanks to their low moisture content. Once opened, oats will maintain their freshness for about six months. This timeframe increases to about a year if you store your opened oats in the freezer. With cooked oats, they will be edible for about 4-6 days if stored in the fridge.
How do you tell if oats is bad?
Oats will have a stale, musty smell if they've gone bad. They might also taste sour or develop mold. Look for any changes in color or texture. Fresh oats are dry, flaky, and off-white.
Tips for storing oats to extend shelf life
• Store oats in a cool, dry, and dark place such as a pantry.
• Keep oats in an airtight container to extend their shelf life. This will also keep out pests.
• You can freeze oats to extend their shelf life even longer.
• Never store oats or other whole grains above or near items that have strong odors. Oats can absorb the odor which can affect their taste.
• If you open a package of oats and can’t finish it quickly, consider splitting the contents into smaller airtight containers. This will reduce the chances of the oats getting stale.