Hearty and healthy, oats aren’t just for breakfast oatmeal. From oatmeal meatballs and stuffed chicken breast to baked oatmeal cookies and oatmilk, here are 10 creative ways to make good use of oats in your pantry!
Oats are a force to be reckoned with. They’re much higher in protein than other grains, packed with fiber and nutrients, inexpensive, and delicious with a creamy, nutty, sweet flavor. Plus they retain moisture well in baking which is why they make for an awesome oatmeal cookie!
What are Oats?
Pats are a type of grass! Wheat, corn, barley, and rice are grasses, too, but oats are higher in protein and healthy fats than are most other whole grains. Unlike most whole grains, oats grow in cool, rainy places. This is why oats became a popular, reliable crop in Scotland and Ireland.
Species of oats have names such as Large Naked Oat, Small Naked Oat (naked oats don’t have hulls), Desert Oat, Sand Oat, and Slender Oat. Varieties include ‘Astro’, ‘Cherokee’, ‘Clinton’, ‘Florida 501’, ‘Noble’, and ‘Stout’.
Common white oats, called Avena sativa, are planted in the spring and harvested in the summer. The stalks grow from 2 to 4 feet high and contain small branches that end in a “spikelet.” Each spikelet contains two seeds that are protected by an outer coating called a “hull,” which is too hard for people to eat. Oats in this form are called “whole oats.”
In most cases, that “hull” is removed. Once the hull is removed, the whole grain is called a “groat.” Groats look like brown rice and can be cooked and eaten. Groats are often steamed and flattened with a roller into “rolled oats.” These are softer and cook more quickly than groats. An 18-ounce package of “old-fashioned oats” contains about 26,000 rolled oats. Rolled oats are commonly used in recipes.
Instant oats are steamed longer and rolled to be thinner than rolled oats. However, this additional processing makes them less nutritious than other varieties. Steel-cut oats are groats that have been cut into three or four pieces. The cutting helps to speed the cooking process. Steel-cut oats are very nutritious and are used to make oatmeal.
Today, the world’s leading oat growers are the United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, and Poland. People eat oats in many prepared foods, including bacon, beer, bread, breakfast bars, butter, cakes, cereals, cookies, frozen fish, ice cream, meatballs, meat loaf, oat flour, oat milk, salad dressing, and sausage. This accounts for only about 5 percent of the world’s oats. The remainder is used for other purposes.
Cooking With Oats
Here are 10 ways to cook with oats, including three recipes from the Almanac “Oatmeal Recipe Contest” held in years’ past.
This recipe, submitted by Diane H. from Corpus Christi, Texas, won 1st place in the 2005 Reader Recipe Contest for oatmeal.
Photo credit: The Wednesday Baker
This recipe, submitted by Mary S. from Ada, Oklahoma, won 2nd place in the 2005 Reader Recipe Contest for oatmeal.
These Irish Oatmeal Scones are a delicious treat with a simple and subtle flavor. While these hearty scones taste great fresh out of the oven, they are even better cooled to room temperature and spread with jam.
This is a classic oatmeal raisin cookie by a prize-winning baker, compliments of the Almanac Everyday Baking cookbook.
Incorporate oats into your next loaf of bread. Here they add a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Unfortuantely, most “oatmeal” breads are lacking in the amount of oatmeal included; this recipe uses four cups of oatmeal!
An easy, chewy, oatmeal bar with semisweet chocolate! So simple, so delicious!
This delicious, high-energy snack tcan easily be customized; try swapping almond butter for peanut butter or adding mini-chocolate chips or chopped raisins!
This oatmeal blueberry crisp is about as easy as it gets (other than eating the berries fresh)! Every day pantry ingredients whip up in no time and bake for 30 minutes. The flavors meld perfectly for a mouthwatering dessert!
This recipe, submitted by Ginger M. from Rancho Palo Verdes, California, won 3rd prize in the 2005 Reader Recipe Contest for oatmeal.
10. Oat Milk
With just oats and water, you can make your own lactose-free, easy, creamy, DIY oat milk!
We hope you found some new ideas for using our favorite whole-grain food! You can also simply sprinkle oats on any dish to add texture, a nutty flavor, and wholesome health!