Vote For Oats. Once little more than cattle fodder, oats are now a mainstay of a healthy diet. With more than 25 million tonnes produced worldwide every year, the versatile ingredient is credited as the most nutritious of the cereal grains.
Oat straw (Avena Sativa) thrives in temperate conditions, which are the cooler climes of northern Britain, Europe and southern New Zealand. It grows where barley and wheat are not tolerated, and can handle areas high in rainfall and cooler summer conditions.
Soaking oats overnight softens the essential oils and nutrients, making them easier for the human gut to absorb. Place 1 cup oats, 1 cup ltered water and 2 tbsp acid whey or apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for at least 7 hours. Add 1⁄2 tsp ne salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until tender. Serve with yoghurt, fruit and nuts.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays. Mix 225g oatmeal or rolled oats, 1 tbsp plain white our, 1⁄4 tsp salt and 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. Stir in 1 tbsp melted butter and enough warm water to make a moderately stiff dough. Knead mixture a little to bind. Sprinkle a board or benchtop with extra our and roll dough as thinly as possible. Cut into small circles or triangles. Place shapes on prepared trays and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp. Set aside to cool then serve or store in an airtight container.
Another step on from jumbo oats, these have been steamed, rolled and rolled again, almost crushed and split apart. Sometimes called quick oats, they are very quick to cook – about 1-5 minutes – and produce a creamy result. They can be used in baking, bread-making and quick- cook porridge. The downside is the extensive steaming takes away their nutritional goodness. They are often forti ed with extra vitamins and minerals to counteract this.
Created by steaming whole oats and then rolling through various presses. They are quicker to cook, but lose a lot of nutritional value when steamed.
A Scottish staple, steamy oats are the ultimate winter breakfast food, but they can be included in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savoury. And the best part? They boast myriad health benefits.
• Oats are the most nutritious of all the cereal plants. They contain more protein than wheat, and more fat than any other cereal. They are also full of indigestible beta-D-glucans, which absorb water and are often credited with lowering bad blood cholesterol as they absorb the bad fats out of the bloodstream. Oats also contain phenolic compounds, which are most prized as antioxidants in the human bloodstream.
• Oat porridge is considered one of the cheapest, yet most nutritious meals you can have. In fact, some say the continued success of Scottish people throughout history is all down to the porridge they eat for breakfast. The water-absorbing carbohydrate molecule, beta-D- glucans, is what gives porridge its thick and creamy consistency.