Table of content A-Z

 

Oat

 

Botanical name: Avena sativa


Hafer

 

Origin, areas of cultivation

Oat is especially suited for cultivation in a cooler and temperate climate. It is sensitive to drought and requires a great deal of water; otherwise it is relatively undemanding. Oats are therefore grown mainly in moist, colder regions in Europe and America.

Cultivation is mostly limited to summer oats, whereby a large portion of the production is used for animal fodder and is fed above all to horses and poultry.


Availability


More than 30 different varieties are known, divided into summer and winter oats. Seed oat is the type predominantly grown. Naked oat, which originated in China, is of lesser importance.

Following the harvest in August and September, oats are available throughout the year. In comparison to other types of grain, however, oats are edible for a relatively short period of time. Oats should not be older than 2 years, due to their relatively high fat content.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Even at first glance oat is distinguishable from other grains. It has no ears, but rather panicles, each of which bears 20 heads with two kernels each.

The elongated, hairy kernels resemble a spindle; according to variety, their colour ranges from white, over yellow, to brown and black.


Ingredients


Although oat contains very little gluten, it is nonetheless not suitable for persons with coeliac disease.

It is the grain with the highest fat content. Because of its relatively high amount of iron, as well as the high contents of unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and fibre, oat is considered one of the most nutritious types of grain.

Oat is an especially important supplier of iron and magnesium, as well as of vitamins B1, K and biotin. The composition of fatty acids is exceptionally favourable.

100 g contain:

 
Oat, whole kernel
Oat flakes
Energy (kcal)
353
370
Water (g)
13
10
Protein (g)
12
12.5
Fat (g)
7.1
7
Carbohydrates (g)
60
63
Fibre (g)
5.6
5.4
Vitamin B1 (mg)
0.5
0.6
Vitamin B6 (mg)
1
0,2
Vitamin K (µg)
50
63
Pantothenic acid (mg)
0.7
1.1
Biotin (µg)
13
20
Magnesium (mg)
129
139
Manganese (mg)
3.7
4.5
Iron (mg)
5.8
4.6
Zinc (mg)
4.5
4.1
Phosphorus (mg)
342
391
Copper (mg)
0.5
0.5



Presumed effect on health


Prepared as porridge, oats have long been given to people with gastrointestinal illnesses. Today they are still said to have a healing or a palliative effect. The reason for this is the lichenin contained in oats, a slime-forming carbohydrate that has a soothing effect in the gastrointestinal tract.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Oat is probably best-known in the form of oat flakes. It can also be processed into flour and groats, is a component of muesli and is used to make malted cocoa with oatmeal. Due to its low gluten content, oat flour is not suited for baking, but it is increasingly being added to bread doughs. Spelt-oat bread, for example, can be very tasty.

Whole oats can be prepared as savoury casseroles, soups, vegetarian cutlets, dumplings or risotto.


Seasoning tip


Especially good for seasoning oat dishes are summer savoury, fennel, paprika and hyssop.


Miscellaneous


In earlier times, if horses bolted and were too high-spirited after they had eaten oats, their owners explained this with the saying: "He's feeling his oats." This figure of speech is not entirely unjustified, as oats contain the activity-enhancing neurotransmitter dopamine.

 

 

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