Not to be confused with steel-cut or whole oats, whole oat groats are the oat berries in the most natural state. And yes, you can cook them!
There is something so satisfying about cooking a whole grain from scratch. Whole oat groats take an incredibly long time to cook and require planning ahead. Unlike rolled oats - to which you can just add water and microwave for a couple of minutes - whole oat groats feel like a significant undertaking. So I don't do this very often. But I love the results. A warm and comforting dish. Kinda perfect when the temps persist at below zero.
Wait until you're feeling ambitious or have some extra time on your hands to give these a try. Your first challenge may be to find them. Try here or a good bulk food store.
Don't confuse these with steel-cut oats or Irish oatmeal. This is the whole oat groat. Roasted and hulled. But not rolled or cut. They actually look similar, a bit longer and thinner than whole grain wheat berries.
Personally, I like the texture and flavour of whole oats. Slightly sweet, nice and firm and chewy. I think they are worth the time investment.
How to cook whole grain oat groats
- Just like lentils or other dried beans, whole grains can be dirty and full of twigs and pebbles. It always amazes me how the most perfectly round pebbles find their way into the whole grain bag.
- You have to get rid of that before you cook these things. So before you soak them, make sure you have spread them out on a clean work surface and inspected for debris. I always rinse them to remove any dust that might be clinging to the grains.
- Then place in a small bowl with enough water to cover the grains by an inch or two.
- The oats will cook more quickly if you soak them before cooking. Soak at least 1 hour or overnight. Overnight soaking will cut their cooking time considerably.
After soaking plan 50 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes of cooking time. Seriously.
Once you are ready to cook the grains:
- drain the soaking liquid then transfer them to a pot to cook on the stovetop.
- 1 cup of dry oat whole oat groats will need 2 + ½ cups of water plus a pinch of salt to cook.
Save the toppings and flavourings for after cooking the grains - brown sugar or maple syrup, cinnamon, walnuts and grated apple. Once they are cooked, you can stir in your favourite combinations.
Make-ahead whole oats
Like just about any whole grain, the leftovers will keep for a few days refrigerated.
So don't feel like you need 2 hours each morning to make breakfast. 1 cup dried oat groats will make 4 servings. Make a batch and save some for later.
For leftovers, I add a little bit of water and throw them in the microwave to warm up. The extra water will help soften them up again. Place them in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes - stir after every 30 secs or so - or until they are warm to your liking. Or - you can do the same in a small pot on the stovetop.
Cinnamon Apple Whole Oats
- 1 cup whole oats
- 2-½ cups water
- pinch of sea salt
- maple syrup
- brown sugar
- toasted pecans almonds or walnuts
- grated apple
- Spread groats on a cutting board and inspect for pebbles and twigs.
- Place groats in a small bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak at least 1 hour. Overnight in the fridge is fine as well.
- Drain and rinse oats through a fine mesh sieve the transfer to a pot with 2-½ cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed and groats are tender. 50 minutes to over an hour.
- Pot could boil over, keeping the lid ajar can help reduce foam.
- Remove from pot, fluff and stir in toppings of your choice. Serve