Oatmeal has a long, rich history but still provides loads of fiber and nutrition benefits
Oatmeal is a porridge made from ground oats, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats. It is a food that has been used for centuries and it is still in use today.
Oldest archeological findings of oat grains date from Ancient Egypt and were found among remains of the 12th Dynasty, i.e. there are some 4 millennia old. But these oats were probably weeds and not cultivated plants. Oldest cultivated oats were found in caves in Switzerland and they date from Bronze Age. We don't know where the plant originated but scientists think that it originated from Asia Minor because there exist many different subspecies of oats, so it is the most likely point of origin. They were very popular in Scotland in the 15th century. Oats came to North America in the early 17th century.
Buy oatmeal that is well packaged and sealed tightly. Check the expiration or “sell by” date and choose the newest one.
Oatmeal has a variety of beneficial health influences on humans. For a start it lowers cholesterol levels. Oatmeal has a specific type of fiber namely – beta-glucan, which lowers total cholesterol levels in the body. According to some studies, oats also help prevent heart disease. Fibers in oatmeal also make you feel full after the finished meal which prevents you from overeating and can even reduce weight. Your body digests and absorbs oatmeal slowly, which keeps you feeling full and you don't feel the need to eat more. It helps neutrophils (immune cells) find the place of an infection and it even helps them fight it. Fibers also prevents sugar from entering the bloodstream too fast which lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes and even lowers the level of sugar in the blood of those that already have Type 2 diabetes.
Properly stored, a package of rolled oats will generally stay at best quality for about 18 to 24 months at room temperature. To maximize the shelf life of rolled oats once the package is opened, transfer to a covered airtight container or place original rolled oats package in a resealable plastic freezer bag.
Cooking with Oatmeal
Today there are many ways that oatmeal can be prepared. It can be made into a traditional porridge; brose (which is made with uncooked oatmeal or dry toasted oatmeal which is mixed with butter or cream); and gruel (a mix of oatmeal with cold water, prepared as food for infants or ill).
Baked Cranberry Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped apples
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, or as desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish. Bring milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat. Combine oats, apples, dried cranberries, and walnuts in a bowl; transfer to the prepared baking dish. Pour milk mixture over oat mixture. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 portions
Total Fat: 9.5 g
Total Carbohydrates: 38 g
Fiber: 3.7 g
Sugar: 24 g
Protein: 6.7 g
Sodium: 42 mg
For a free copy of delicious recipes that include cooking with oatmeal, contact Jheri-Lynn McSwain, County Extension Agent – Family and Community Health at 936-598-7744 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.