WARM MEAL FOR COLD DAYS: The Story of Oatmeal

It looks like the month of January is about to come to a close; However, I would very much like to mention that January is National Oatmeal Month-Yes, an entire month devoted to oatmeal, but what exactly is oatmeal and what is it made of?

Well, oatmeal is in fact a grain, but a grain that is made out of hulled-out grain called groats(I know, sounds weird, doesn’t it?); Anyway, there are all kinds of oats available: There are rolled oats, which can either be thin or thick while also being called “instant”, “quick”, or “old-fashioned”. There also happens to be steel-cut oats, which are also known as “Irish oatmeal”, “Coarse oatmeal”, or even “Pinhead oats”. Now, as far as the term for ‘oatmeal’ goes, it is used in both the U.S. as well as parts of Canada, mainly I think as they use another word for it, which is porridge.

Here is how oatmeal is prepared industrially: The oat grains are at first dehusked by impact and then heated and cooled to stabilize the oat groats, which is the seed inside the husk. This heating process then gives the oats its nut-like flavor. Then the oat groats are then milled just so as to produce either medium, fine, or coarse oatmeal. The steel-cut oats just might be small, and contain broken groats from the dehusking process.

There are many kinds in which oatmeal can be used: They can be cooked with water to make porridge, or the rolled oats can be often used to become the key ingredient in breakfast cereals, and of course toasted oats can very well be blended with sugar and/or nuts and raisins, and yes, rolled oats can even be used in the making of granola bars as well.

As to how oatmeal is used to the benefit of one’s health, according to a 1997 ruling by the Food and Drug Administration, they state that consuming oat bran or whole rolled oats can lower the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet via the effect of something called the oat beta-given to reduce levels of blood cholesterol.

And so, that is the tale of oatmeal. As this month of January winds down, honor this month of oatmeal with a nice, warm bowl of your own…As in oatmeal, that is! (Yuk, yuk, yuk)

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