On a cold winter morning there is nothing better than a bowl of porridge to start your morning off right. Oats aren’t only great for porridge, they’re also great in pancakes, muffins, flapjacks and so much more. But do you know the difference between the oat varieties?
All oats first start off as oat groats which are whole unbroken grains. They’re then processed into many different varieties of oats. Each type of oat differs in nutrients and processing methods. There are several types of oats including Rolled Oat Flakes, Steel Cut or Pinhead, Quick Cook and Instant Oats.
Steel Cut Oats are chopped into small pieces and have a tough texture before they’re cooked. Steel cut oats are also chewier in texture once cooked in comparison to rolled and instant oats.
Steel cut oats take about 30 minutes to an hour to make and have the longest cooking time of all the oat varieties. As they are the least processed oat variety they usually contain a higher amount of fiber than other oats but the difference is very small.
In addition to porridge, steel cut oats are also great for adding texture to stuffing. Because of the texture of steel cut oats they cannot be substituted for rolled or instant oats.
Rolled Oats like our famous Jumbo Organic Oats, have a milder flavour and softer texture than other varieties of oats. To make rolled oats the grains are steamed and then pressed flat with steel rollers. As this partially cooks the oat this shortens cooking time later.
Rolled Oats usually cook in 5-7 minutes and are great for making cookies, muesli, cakes, muffins and bread.
Quick oats, like our Speedicook Porridge Oats, are rolled oats that go through further processing to decrease the cooking time. Like rolled oats they’re partially cooked by steaming, rolled even thinner than regular rolled oats and then cut using steel cutters.
These oats cook within a few minutes and have a mild flavour. Like instant oats these oats have a softer, mushy texture in comparison to the other oat varieties.
Unlikes some instant oat varieties, quick oats don’t contain other ingredients like skim milk powder, sugar and other flavourings.
Most instant oats are steamed for longer, rolled and cut even finer for a quick cooking bowl of porridge. They tend to retain less of their texture and are mushier than steel cut or rolled oats. Our Toat'ly Oaty Instant Oats use a jumbo oat flake so are creamier and have more texture than other varieties. They are still steamed for longer allowing them to be cooked up in 2.5 minutes.
Instant oats can be cooked in minutes on the stove or for added convenience, in the microwave in 2 - 2.5 minutes.
Instant oats can be less healthy than other types of rolled oats if additional ingredients such as sugars, salt and flavourings are added.
Rolled oats can be used as a substitute for instant oats though they will require more time to cook and will add more texture to the final dish.
Adding more oats to your diet could help keep your weight in check, blood sugar levels stable and help your heart stay healthy. No matter what oat variety you prefer all forms of oats are 100% whole grain and a good source of fiber. Oats are also a complex carbohydrate so they’ll keep you feeling full for longer. Oats also offer iron, thiamin, zinc, magnesium and protein. If preparation time is the deciding factor for you then you can opt for our selection of Instant or Quick Cook Oats for your morning bowl of porridge oats. Alternatively if texture is more important the delicious bite of our Jumbo Oats may be more desirable.
Visit our recipes page to find new and exciting ways to incorporate oats into your diet.