Taste Test Winning Steel Cut Oats and Differences Between Oatmeals

Published:  05/05/2017

Steel-cut oats are sliced by steel blades. Old-fashioned or rolled oats are steamed and rolled flat.

Some prefer the taste of steel-cut oats over old-fashioned or rolled oats.  Steel-cut offers firm, chewy texture and wonderful full oat flavor. Cook's Illustrated did a taste recently and the winner won with "outstanding buttery, nutty oat flavor and creamy yet toothsome texture".

The overall winner was Bob's Red Mill Organic Steel-Cut oats. Second place went to Arrowhead Mills Organic Steel-Cut Oats Hot Cereal. Surprisingly Quaker Steel-Cut and McCann's Steel Cut didn't fare so well.

Oat groats: All types of oat cereals start out as groats, which are hulled, then toasted into oat grains. The bran remains intact.

Steel-cut (Irish) oats: Least processed type of oat cereal. The toasted oat groats are chopped into chunks.

Stone-ground (Scottish) oats: These are the same as Irish oats but they are ground into smaller pieces. Irish oats need to cook for 45 minutes to cook and Scottish oats 20-25 minutes.

Old-fashioned rolled oats: These are made by steaming the toasted groats (see above) and then putting them between rollers to create flakes. Tolled oats take 10 minutes to cook on the stove.

Quick-cooking oats: These are rolled into thinner flakes than old-fashioned, so they cook a little faster.

Instant oats: These are the most heavily processed. The groats have been chopped fine, flattened, pre-cooked, and dehydrated.  Instant oatmeal usually has added salt and sugar and other additives. But once in a while, in an otherwise healthy diet, its fine to eat instant oats. I keep some i the pantry for a quick warm and sweet snack and on our boat for occassional quick easy breakfasts.

The healthiest choice if you're in a hurry is to cook old fashioned or quick-cooking oats in the microwave. Be sure to put the water and oats in a LARGE microwave bowl since the mixture will boil, rise up and give a "volcano" flow over the edge of the bowl if it is too small. 

Toppings: small amount of brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, fresh berries, a berry compote, dried fruit like cherries or apricots. Try Ceylon cinnamon which is true cinnamon and has a delicate, sweet flavor.

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Maria Faires, RD

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Categories:   Food 

Tags:   #mealplanning #menuplanning

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