Getting Your Oat(cake)s?

Avena sativa (L)

Oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats.

They are also commonly used to feed livestock, making up around 20% of the daily intake for horses and are regularly fed to cattle and chickens.

Oats are also used in some of the lower end brands of dog food.

One of the most common uses, apart from certain breakfast cereals, would be oatcakes and snack bars.

Derivations of the oatcake are found in many a rural community around the globe.

And each county, region or country where they are found claim that theirs are the ‘real thing’

Pinhead oats are considered by those in the know as an essential ingredient for oatcakes and are sometimes referred to as coarse oatmeal or steel cut oats.

Jumbo rolled oats are made by steaming the whole grain and then passing it through rollers to flatten them out. They can be eaten raw in muesli, or used to make porridge.

Rolled oats can also be made by putting pinhead oats through a similar process. Rolled oats cook more quickly than standard oats and make a finer, smoother porridge.

Oatmeal looks like a coarse-ground flour. It is available in a number of grades from the coarsest which is also known as pinhead to superfine.

Medium oatmeal can be used in biscuits, scones and crumble toppings, while fine or medium oatmeal can be used as the main ingredient in oatcakes, oat biscuits and flapjacks.

With current tends towards a healthier lifestyle, oats are being used ever more widely in ‘between-meal snacks’ as a viable alternative to sugar heavy chocolate and sweets.

It is also used in conjunction with other cereals to produce wholemeal flour used in the production of  wholemeal bread.

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