oats

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Also Known as
Oatmeal, quick cooking oats, quick rolled oats, rolled oats

Description
What better way to gain the strength and energy to carry you through a hectic morning schedule than with a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal. Oats are harvested in the fall but are available throughout the year and can add extra nutrition to a variety of healthy dishes. Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain able to withstand poor soil conditions in which other crops are unable to thrive. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients.

How to Select
While purchasing oatmeal, look at the ingredients to ensure that the product does not contain any salt, sugar or other additives. Choose rolled oats and oatmeal that are available in health shops. Buy small quantities of oats at one time since this grain has a slightly higher fat content than other grains and will go rancid more quickly. Oats are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the oats are covered, free from debris and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing oats in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.

Culinary Uses
· A steaming bowl of fresh cooked oatmeal is the perfect way to start off your day, -add your favorite nuts and fruits to a piping hot bowl of oatmeal.
· Oats may also be consumed raw, and cookies with raw oats are becoming popular.
· Oats have numerous uses in food; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour.
· Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge, but may also used in a variety of baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread.
· Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola.
· Different types of oats require slightly different cooking methods for making hot cereal or porridge. For all types, it is best to add the oats to cold water and then cook at a simmer.
· Oatmeal cookies are a favorite for kids of all ages.
· Add oat flour or whole oats the next time you make bread or muffins.
· Sprouting increases their nutritive values. Add them to sandwiches, salads, stir-fry and soups.
· Being partly cooked in the mill, oats can easily be teamed with fresh or died fruits & natural yoghurt.
· It can be assimilated as a part of any meal breakfast, lunch or dinner.
· Oats are a very good dessert ingredient because they are low in sugar & compensate for the otherwise rich ingredients.
· In an age of fast & processed food, mothers have to be very innovative in cooking up new dishes. Oats have the flexibility not only because of its variety, but also because it is half cooked. It can easily used to make quick pastas, muffins, croissants. Moreover, since it substitutes for maida, it is a healthy option any day.
· It can act as a thickening agent for soups & gravies instead of maida & replace wheat flour in Indian cooking.

How to Store
Store oatmeal in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for approximately two months. However, use within the expiry date stamped.

Health Benefits
· Oats have been around for centuries & a bowl of porridge has always been considered a satisfying breakfast because of the best source of soluble fiber.
· This fiber helps lower blood LDL cholesterol, the so-called "Bad" cholesterol.
· Oats absorb the extra fat & flush it out of the system. That is why they cure constipation because of the high soluble fiber & assist in regulating gastro-intestinal functions.
· A diet which is rich in oats may also help stabilize blood glucose levels, which could help people with non-insulin dependent diabetes
· If aids to cope with ovarian & uterine problems associated largely associated with the onset of menopause in women. Depression & mood swings that affect after menopause are relieved through a regular oat meal, because of its high protein & fiber content. Oat meal rejuvenates the endocrine systems & enriches sexual pleasure because it matures the nerves.
· Oats have some unique fatty acids & antioxidants which together with vitamin E slow cell damage & have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
· Oats are low in fat & salt; they are a good source of natural iron.
· Being a good source of calcium, they are ideal for heart, bones & nails.
· Several types of baby foods contain oats, mainly in the form of whole oat flour.
· Dry pabulum type infant food often use just oat flour with a little barley malt & some vitamins & minerals. The product is "drummed" to create very thin flakes of pabulum. Thin oat flakes are equally useful for invalids ask for toddlers. They can easily be swallowed & are easy to digest.




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