Where are oats originally from?

Oats are ‘late bloomers’ from the Near East. Late bloomers referring to their late domestication. They thrive in cold, rainy weather, hence their popularity in Northern Europe.

Are oats used as animal feed?

Yes! Oats are used in all kinds of animal feed thanks to their high nutritional content. 

Horses eat plenty of oats, for example, meaning that oats really boomed before the invention of cars. Imagine all that repurposed land, post-automobile…

So does that mean that oats are very nutritious?

Oats are high in protein, fiber, iron, anti-oxidants, and healthy amino-acids. They also have a low glycemic index.

Are all oats processed as whole grains?

It’s complicated. All oats have an inedible husk/hull that needs to be removed one way or another. 

Common rolled oats are mechanically hulled and steamed. Sometimes they are polished, to remove the bran. Next, they are rolled to become flat, quicker-cooking oats. 

Then there are naked oats, which naturally break free from their husks during harvest. These can be sold as groats. Or they are cold-rolled, to preserve the whole-grain.

Note: Oats that have not been steamed have a shorter shelf-life. 

So what are steel cut oats, groats and Scottish style oats?

  • Steel cut oats = chopped oat groats
  • Oat groats = whole oats, incl. germ, bran and endosperm but without husks 
  • Scottish style oats = whole, ground oat groats

Are oats milled?

Yes, ground groats make a yummy oat flour.