Love oat as much as we do? Find out everything you need to know about them in our pantry staples guide.
Our pantry staples series sees us take a look at the ingredients that most people usually have in their presses – chickpeas, beans, noodles and the like. Today, we’re looking at oats.
The oats that we eat are seeds produced by the oat plant, which grows best in places with temperate climates such as in Northwest Europe. Extremely popular around the world, around 23 tonnes of oats were produced in 2016, with the majority grown in the European Union.
Oats are a great addition to any diet as they are 100 percent whole grain, meaning they contain the germ, endosperm and bran of the grain. Because of this, and their high levels of complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, oats slowly release energy over a few hours, keeping you fuller for longer. Oats are also thought to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease as they soak up excess cholesterol and carry it out of the bloodstream.
In terms of nutrition, oats are a great source of protein, vitamins B1 and E, and a range of minerals including calcium, iron, thiamine and more. As we mentioned previously, oats contain more soluble fibre than any other grain, which helps to maintain healthy bowel function.
Buying, storing and using oats
There is a massive range of oats available on the market, but we're very fond of Irish organic oats, like Flahavan's or Kilbeggan Organic Oats. In terms of quality, we find that organic varieties usually taste a little better, but store-brand varieties are usually quite good too.
As we've said, oats absorb quite a lot of liquid so it's really important to make sure that you keep them in a cool, dry place. Other than that, oats are fairly robust, so keep them in a sealed container, a ziplock bag or a jar in a cool dry place and they will keep for months.
The most obvious, and probably most popular, way to use oats is in porridge. There are countless different ways to make the ever-popular breakfast, usually with a base of milk or water. The tastiest porridge is usually cooked on the stove, but it can be made in the microwave too, just make sure it doesn't explode! If you want to upgrade your porridge, try making it with a mixture of cream and milk. Add a dash of Bailey's, top with caramelised bananas and tuck in.
Looking for more oat recipes? Read on for some of our favourites.
- These breakfast muffins from Hugo Arnold use oats and bananas for added texture and sweetness. We love to make a batch of them on a Sunday evening and eat them as a tasty grab-and-go breakfast throughout the week
- NutShed's peanut butter granola is so good that you will literally want to eat it for every meal of the day. It's really versatile and goes well with a lot of different toppings.
- This almond bircher bowl recipe from Two Boys Brew is the ultimate meal prep breakfast. Soak the oats overnight, top it with whatever takes your fancy and you'll be full until well past lunchtime.