Do you want to know how to cook oat groats? Do you even know what they are? There's no shame in not knowing. Heck, before I started researching the benefits and how-to's of a plant based diet I'd never heard of them either. Yes, that was a bit before I admitted that deep down inside I was one of those "vegan hippy folks". It took me a while to sidle up to the truth of that. But THAT is a story for another time.
What Is An Oat Groat?
So most of you are probably better educated than I was back then but just in case you haven't heard of an "oat groat" before either let's start with what they are. An oat groat is the seed of the oat plant. They have had their outer husk removed but have not been heat treated in any way so they are truly "living food" and can be grown into more oat plants if you so choose.
This is why they are sometimes called "sprouting oats". Some folks even call them Scottish oats (not to be confused with Scottish Oat Meal), but I have no idea why. If you do, we'd love to hear the story, please tell us in the comments. Ok?
As you might have guessed they look very different from the oats most of us here in the US grew up eating. The standard "Quaker Oats" are rolled oats. Which are still whole oats but they've been rolled flat so they cook quickly. Some argue that by breaking the skin and crushing the germ they don't keep as long and tend to loose nutrients more quickly than if kept in the whole groat form.
What Can You Do With Oat Groats?
What will really matter to you is that oat groats cook up plump and chewy like wheat berries or brown rice. This oat form makes for an excellent savory side dish or pilaf as well as a breakfast cereal or dessert depending on how you spice it up.
Oat groats are also an excellent addition to soups, salads and believe it or not burritos and tacos. They also work well as a base for stir-frys and are excellent covered in mushroom gravy. Ok, so you guessed it, my daughter and I kinda like oat groats LOL
How To Cook Oat Groats…
Well, now that you know what they are (and are dying to give them a try) you'll be wanting to know how to cook oat groats.
In a nutshell you treat them just like brown rice. Dump them into boiling water, reduce the heat, cover and simmer/steam for about an hour. But as with most things the devil is in the details. In other words how much water for how many oat groats? Most "authorities" will tell you the following...
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup oat groats (you can get them online here)
- Pinch of salt (optional)
Bring water and salt to a boil. Add oat groats. Stir. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 50-60 minutes or until water has been absorbed.
In practice what I have found is that this ratio of water/groats/time always leaves the oat groats cooked but swimming in water. Which is fine if you are wanting porridge, like it runny and substitute almond milk (or your dairy free milk of choice) for the water. But if you want to make a pilaf or use the oat groats for gravy this is LESS than optimal.
What I have found to work better is to use 2 cups of water for each cup of oat groats. Then just follow the recipe as above and you'll have nice plump chewy, but dry, oat groats.
So, if you are looking to break out of the mold and try something new, we heartily suggest giving oat groats a try. Once you figure out how much water YOU like to use when cooking them you'll find a plethora of uses for these nutritional powerhouses.
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