Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. They are golden in color and resemble small rice pieces.
Steel-cut oats are also known as coarse-cut oats pinhead oats or Irish oats. This form of oats takes longer to prepare than instant or rolled oats due to its minimal processing typically 15-30 minutes to simmer (much less if pre-soaked). The flavor of the cooked product is described as being chewier and nuttier than other types of oats.
Oats are the third leading cereal crop produced in the United States (after wheat and corn) and the fourth most important crop world-wide. They were once considered a weed which grew right with the barley and wheat. One day farmers decided to "join 'em rather than fight 'em " and oats started being planted as a crop by itself. It fares best in cool moist climates which is why they are such a popular staple of the British Isles like Scotland Ireland and Wales. The grain was introduced into the Americas in 1602 by a sea captain who planted them in one of the islands off the coast of Massachusetts. They were a popular grain but corn had a better yield per acre crop so their popularity wasn't as great as corn. Today nearly half of the world's oat crop--more than 4 billion bushels a year--is grown in the United States and Canada.
Oat kernels look very much like wheat in structure. They have an outer covering of bran which protects the starchy endosperm and the germ that sits at the bottom of the grain. Because the oat kernel is soft the nutritious bran is not removed. Whole grain oats contain seven B vitamins vitamin E and nine minerals including iron and calcium. The quality and quantity of the protein in oats is far superior to that of wheat and most other grains. One ounce of oats has TWICE the protein of wheat or corn flakes. But the most important nutritional advantages are the soluable fiber and the GLA (gamma linoleic acid).
The soluable fiber is what gives it the gummy texture and it helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood. GLA is considered an "activated" essential fatty acid. Very small amounts of it fill the metabolic pipelines and allow the body to make other essential fatty acids and all this is part of the hormonal control aspects of the Zone Diet as described by Dr. Barry Sears in his first book "Enter the Zone" (pp. 119-134 Reagan Books Harper Collins 1995).
Sears reccomends eating 3-5 bowls of oatmeal a week. This reccomendation has been the driving force in all the discussion questions like "Is INSTANT oatmeal okay?" and "Do I have to eat it every day?" and comments like "I HATE oatmeal!" I think that the limitations on our imagination for the use of OATS has been part of the problem and I hope that this will be a continually growing page to fill your mind and imagination with more ways to get your GLA than in a bowl with brown sugar and milk!
Steel-cut oats may have a lower glycemic index than instant oatmeal (42 vs. 66 respectively) causing a lesser spike in insulin levels when consumed. Sources: Wikipedia & FormerFatGuy.com
INFORMATION ABOUT PRODUCT CERTIFICATIONS: ORGANIC - Our Oats are controlled both in nature and quality. Growers must meet rigid specifications; crops must be three years away from the use of chemicals on grain and soil. Our growers are certified by O.C.I.A. (Organic Crop Improvement Association) a well known and accepted international certifying association. The mill and each grower?s farm is checked by an O.C.I.A. representative each year. KOSHER - The Mill is also certified with the KOA of A KOSHER Seal and are inspected by the FDA on a regular basis. NO PRESERVATIVES - Our products are not bleached bromated or preserved in any way nor do we enrich them. They are as natural a product and as pure as we can possible make them. Because of our milling method we obtain a unique fineness and light color not found in other whole grain flours. This method of milling also protects the shelf life.
Steel Cut Oats (Source; Two Peas and Their Pod)
1 cup steel cut oats
3 1/2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon Raisins or whatever toppings you like
1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the steel cut oats and and salt. Stir.
2. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure you stir the oats occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan.
3. When the oats start to thicken at about 30 minutes add in the milk and vanilla. I think the milk makes the oats creamier. Stir the oats milk and vanilla together and cook for ten more minutes.
4. Add in the cinnamon and raisins or whatever toppings you wish.
5. If you want to make bruleed oats-put the oats in a bowl sprinkle with brown sugar and turbinado sugar. With a creme brulee torch fire the top of the oats until the sugar is crystalized.
Serve the oats hot. This batch makes 4-6 servings. 6 for me 4 for Josh:) If you want you can let the oats cool and then portion them out into smaller containers. To reheat I add a splash of milk and reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
*Note-you can use 4 cups of water and omit the milk I just like the creaminess the milk adds.*
Crockpot Steel Cut Oatmeal (by Linda Larsen)
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dates chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons honey
Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except half and half and honey in the slow cooker cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours. Stir in half and half and honey and serve.
If you like more texture in your oatmeal you can toast the oats before cooking. Place them in a shallow layer on a cookie sheet and toast them at 350 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes stirring once during cooking time until oats are a darker gold color. Let cool completely before you combine with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
Stir well before serving. 4 servings