Oats are integral part of every type of muesli. But to reach our table it took the oats more than 10 centuries of fight with food prejudice. It is strange and worrying that there are still people that view oats as animal food.
History of oats
It is believed that oats has been cultivated in Asia even before the Birth of Christ from the hexaploid wild oats. In the beginning oats has been used as medicinal plant and after that gained popularity as animal food. In the Roman Empire Romans and Greeks considered it a weed. It was established as food and trade product first in North Europe long before the Americas were discovered. Today oat flakes and oatmeal porridge are considered healthy and dietary food. The biggest producers of oats in the world are Russia, Canada, Germany, Poland and Finland.
What is oats?
Oats is a wheat plant that grows at dry and cool climate. It can be easily cultivated even in soils that are not rich in nutritients. In this respect oats surpasses most of the other wheat plants. The height of the oat ear varies between 60 and 150 cm and every sprig has between 10 and 75 oat grains that turn yellow when they are ripe. During centuries of cultivation were produced hundreds varieties of oats that are divided into two big groups winter and summer oats. After harvesting oat seeds are separated from chaff and dried and/ or baked. This improves their storage period as well as their taste.
Types of oats
Cereals are surely the most popular product derived from oat flakes. Cereals are sold as several different products:
- Natural oat cereals – peeled oat flakes are baked and cut with steel blades into 1-2 pieces. They are boiled for 2-5 min and are soaked;
- Quick oat cereals – flakes are additionally pressed and rolled in oat flour. This type of cereals should be soaked in boiling water or boiled in water;
- Fine oat cereals – finely ground and well pressed baked oat flakes they are ready to eat only hot water or milk should be added.
Oat flour is rich in proteins and fibers. It is used to enrich wholegrain flours, breads and pasta. Oatmeal porridge is a complex product that contains oat flour, oat bran and powdered milk. Most of the times, porridge has high calorie value. Oat barn is rich in fibers. Most of the times they are used to enrich different wholegrain doughy and pasta products and in diet gruels.