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What Groats Are and Why They Are Better than Refined Grains

Chances are, you may have never heard of groats. Unfortunately, many people haven’t and therefore have no idea how nutritionally beneficial they are.

Groats are grains that have been minimally processed to strip away the outer shell. These include oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and even corn! Groats are often used as a base ingredient for porridge, soups, bread, pasta, pancakes, cookies, muffins, granola bars, etc.

We’ll not only provide you with an in-depth look at the groat and its nutritional value, but we’ll illustrate how you can incorporate them into your recipes for a healthier diet.

A Detailed Look at the Groat

Groats are  the whole-grains of various cereals including wheat, barley, oats, and rye. They retain their germ, brans, and endosperms after being hulled. Their discarded husks and hull are sometimes referred to as “chaff.”

The word “groat” was originally a Scottish word referring specifically to whole oat grains. However, it‘s now used to describe any unprocessed grain from oat kernels to teff. Groats possess the full nutritional value of the grain because they are unprocessed.

Given that they’re not processed, groats still retain the full nutritional value of the grain. This means they contain protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that your body needs for optimal health and energy. Groats are also gluten-free.

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A groat is composed of three parts:

  1. Bran – the outer layer of a grain that contains lots of fiber.
  2. Germ – the innermost portion of the grain and is filled with vitamins and minerals.
  3. Endosperm – the bulk of the grain and where carbohydrates like starch are stored.

In fact, groats contain almost 50% carbohydrates by weight. This means they have twice the amount of carbs as other whole grains, such as brown rice, which has 20%. They can be eaten by themselves or added to foods like salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, cereal, smoothies, baked goods, and more.

Types of Groats

You can find many different varieties of groats at grocery stores worldwide. Some popular examples include:

• Oats – A staple food in Europe and North America. It’s commonly found in breakfast cereals, muesli, and hot cereal blends. They are digested more slowly than instant or rolled, which provides a smoother nutrition intake while leaving you feeling full for a more extended period.

Oats

Credits: Melissa Di Rocco

• Quinoa – Also known as “the mother of all grains,” quinoa has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It contains high levels of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin B6. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also gluten-free.

• Barley – Another common whole grain with a nutty flavor. It’s often used in beer brewing and baking due to its ability to add body and sweetness to recipes. It’s also rich in dietary fiber, manganese, copper, vitamin E, and selenium.

• Buckwheat – Similar to rhubarb, buckwheat is actually a fruit seed. It’s often used as an alternative to wheat flour in baking because it adds a unique texture and flavor. It’s also gluten-free.

• Amaranth – An ancient grain native to South America. It’s rich in protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. It’s often used to make porridges, stews, and salads.

Millet – A small, round grain that’s been cultivated since prehistoric times. It’s high in protein, iron, and calcium and is often used in soups and bread.

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• Millet – A tiny grain similar to sorghum. It’s high in protein and carbohydrates. It’s often used for cooking and making porridges.

Millet

Credits: Manikanth Halyal

• Rice – A staple food across Asia and Africa. It’s typically ground into flour for use in bread, cakes, and desserts.

• Teff – A tiny grain related to millet. It’s high in fiber and protein. It’s often used when making porridge, pancakes, cookies, and muffins.

Do Groats Have Any Health Benefits?

Groats are packed with essential nutrients that help promote good health. These include:

• Fiber – Groats contain about 10 grams per cup. That’s double what you’d get from white rice and 3x more than rolled oats.

• Protein – One cup of groats contains 9 grams of protein. That’s nearly half the recommended daily intake.

• Iron – 1/2 cup of groats provides 8% of your daily iron needs. That’s 2x more than spinach!

• Magnesium – 1/4 cup of groats provides 25% of your daily magnesium needs.

• Calcium – 1/4 cup provides 12% of your daily calcium needs.

• Zinc – 1/4 cup contains 18% of your daily zinc needs.

• Phosphorus – 1/4 cup supplies 30% of your daily phosphorus needs.

• Potassium – 1/4 cup offers 22% of your daily potassium needs.

• Vitamin E – 1/2 cup provides 4% of your daily vitamin E needs.

• Copper – 1/4 cup gives you 7% of your copper needs.

• Selenium – 1/4 cup delivers 5% of your selenium needs.

• Manganese – 1/4 cup is enough to supply 15% of your manganese needs.

• Folate – 1/4 cup helps meet 20% of your folate requirements.

• Choline – 1/4 cup meets 13% of your choline needs.

• Niacin – 1/4 cup satisfies 14% of your niacin needs.

• Riboflavin – 1/4cup helps provide 11% of your riboflavin needs.

• Thiamine – 1/4 cup contributes 16% of your thiamine needs.

• Pantothenic Acid – 1/4 cup aids in meeting 19% of your pantothenic acid needs.

RELATED: IS IT CHEAPER TO MAKE YOUR OWN BREAD (BAKING VS BUYING BREAD)?

Are Groats More Nutritious Than Refined Grains?

Yes, but not by much. The nutritional value of groats isn’t significantly different from that of refined grains. However, there are several reasons why it makes sense to consume them instead of refined grains.

For starters, groats are less processed than refined grains. They haven’t been stripped of their bran and germ. As a result, they retain many of the nutrients found in those parts of the grain.

Secondly, groats are lower in calories and fat than refined grains. For example, a cup of groats has only 100 calories while a cup of refined wheat has 140. Also, one cup of groats contains only 6 grams of fat compared to 16 grams in a cup of white bread.

Finally, groats provide an excellent source of fiber. In fact, one cup of groat contains almost twice as much fiber as a cup of refined wheat. They are also one of the best sources of energy on earth because they provide a steady stream of fuel for your body. But eating them doesn’t have to be boring.

quinoa

Credits: Pierre BaminHire

Healthy Cooking Tips For Using Groats

Use groats in recipes where they add flavor, texture, and nutrition without adding weight. You’ll find that they pair well with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and even tofu.

You can cook groats just like you would any other whole grain. For example, you could steam them, boil them, bake them, fry them, or even stir-fry them. But, in general, you’ll want to keep your cooking times short, so you don’t lose too much nutrition.

You can also eat groats raw. This will give you the most bang for your buck since they’re already nutritious. Just remember that if you do this, you won’t get the same benefits of adding them to cooked foods.

Use them in place of flours in baking. Because they don’t absorb liquid as readily as refined grains do, they will give baked goods more structure. In addition, this means that you won’t need to add any extra ingredients such as eggs or oil.

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You can use groats to make all kinds of delicious dishes. Here are some ideas:

  • Use them in pancake batter. The addition of groats makes pancakes dense and chewy.
  • Use them in savory dishes. They add a nutty flavor to meatloaf, chili, soup, pasta sauce, and salad dressings.
  • Use them to thicken soups and sauces.
  • Use them as a substitute for couscous, bulgur, or tapioca starch in pilafs and other grain dishes.
  • Use them instead of rice in stir-fried dishes.
  • Use them to replace breadcrumbs in dips, spreads, and pâtés.
  • Use them in egg scrambles.
  • Use them to make crackers, biscuits, and waffles.
  • Sprinkle them on top of salads or soups.
  • Give your sandwiches enhanced flavor and texture.
  • Add extra traditional value to your smoothies.
  • Mix them into baked goods like muffins, cakes, cookies, etc.
  • Make granola bars using groats instead of oats.
  • Use them in gluten-free baking mixes.

Do I need to rinse my oat groats before using them?

Rinsing isn’t necessary. It’s OK to leave the oat groats soaking overnight without any prepping.

Is it possible to cook groats without soaking them first?

Yes! You can boil them in water until tender. This method works well for quick cooking. However, it won’t give you the same texture as soaking does. Soaking helps soften the groats, so they become easier to chew. 

How do I know if my oat groats are adequately cooked?

Oat groats should be soft when you bite them. If they’re hard, they need more time in the boiling water.

What is the best way to measure oat groats?

Measure out one cup of oat groats. For every 3 cups of oat groats, you will need 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Stir frequently so that the oat groats don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the liquid has reduced by about half, turn off the heat and let stand for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will become thick and creamy.

How do I remove the skins from my oat groats? Do I really need to?

You don’t need to remove the skin because it contains healthy oils. However, if you prefer, you can strain your oat groats through a strainer lined with paper towels. Be careful not to squeeze the towel too much, or else you’ll lose some of the moisture.

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What Do They Taste Like?

The taste of groats depends on what type of grain you buy. For example, if you purchase rolled groats (also called puffed or popped), they’ll have a milder flavor. On the other hand, if you choose steel-cut groats, they’ll have a more robust flavor.

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your favorite foods, try adding some groats to your next meal. You might be surprised how well they go with a wide variety of food ingredients!

How To Store Them

Store your oats in airtight containers at room temperature for up to six months. After that, you can store them in the refrigerator. But be aware that they may lose their nutritional value.

Credits: Markus Spiske

If you buy your groats in bulk, you might consider freezing them. Simply put the amount you plan to use within three days into freezer bags. Then transfer them to the freezer once they’ve thawed.

If you prefer to purchase your groats in smaller packages, then freeze them individually. To prevent freezer burn, wrap each package tightly in plastic wrap. Once frozen, remove the packages and transfer them to resealable freezer bags.

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FAQ

What is the difference between instant oats and grain oat groats?

Instant oats are rolled oats that have had most of their bran removed. Oat groats are unprocessed oats that still contain all of the nutrients found in regular old oats. Instant oats are usually made using steel rollers which crush the oats, resulting in a shorter shelf life and more expensive product. Oat groats do not need to be refrigerated and will last longer than instant oats.

Where can I buy groats?

You can find them at natural grocery stores, whole foods markets, and online retailers. Groats are often sold under different names depending on where you live. In the U.S., groats are typically referred to as “rolled oats” or “old-fashioned oats.” However, in Canada, groats are known as “steel-cut oats,” while in Australia, groats are referred to as “quick-cooking oats.”

Can I eat groats if I have celiac disease?

If you have celiac disease, be aware that groats contain some substances that may inflame your condition. Start slowly and work up to larger quantities of groats over time.

Jess Smith

Portal

Friday 22nd of July 2022

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