Where Do Oats Come From? Everything To Know About This Healthy Breakfast

Arpitha Rajendra
Feb 18, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Edited by Jade Scott
Rolled oats flakes in bowl on wooden table
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Oats (Avena sativa) are used in their pure form as well as in mixtures to feed animals like horses.

As per the research of the World Health Organization, the protein in these gluten-free cereal grain species is almost of the same quality as soy protein. This is equivalent to the protein present in milk, egg protein, and meat.

Like wheat and barley, oats grow year-round in fields in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. However, when wheat and barley were first harvested around 12,000 BC, people did not like oats.

Oats are cereal grain species harvested for the seeds and are known by this name. Typically used as animal feed, oats (Avena sativa) are also used as rolled oats, oatmeal, and oat porridge for human consumption.

Oat is also sometimes called the common oat. Oats are from the world's temperate regions, and they do well in poor soil, second only to rye crops.

Different types of oats are cultivated in different areas. For example, red oats can be grown in warm climates as they tolerate heat, while common oats are cultivated in cool, temperate habitats.

Some oat products include raw oats, oat flour, oat milk, oat grass, rolled oats, ground oats, and quick oats. Oat straw is used for the bedding of horses and is mixed with thatch for roofs and mud for houses, and weaved into mats, baskets, and straw hats.

After people learned to grow wheat in Poland and Scandinavia, it was noticed that oats grew better than wheat did. A few Bronze Age farmers in Northern Europe started to farm oats around 1500 BC.

Oats, along with other grains, were introduced in North America in 1602. The oats (Avena sativa) plant is a relative within the grass family.

After the plant is matured, the seeds have a protective outer shell or hull. The whole grains, known as groats include the seed, oat bran, endosperm, and germ.

If you enjoyed reading these facts that answered where do oats come from, then make sure to read some more interesting facts that reveal answers to the questions where do beans come from and where do peppercorns come from here on Kidadl.

Where do whole grain oats come from?

Whole grain oats are unprocessed grains and they still contain endosperm, germ, and bran.

These grains are processed using simple steps. In the mill plant, oats are cleaned to remove impurities.

Oats are separated based on the length and width, as the hulls are removed based on sizes. Then the outer hull is removed.

Both hulls and groats are separated in a spinning impeller. Then, kilning occurs in a food-grade plant, and groats are sized. In the final processing, oat bran milling, flaking, and whole flour milling take place.

Whole grain oats are unprocessed grains and they still contain endosperm, germ, and bran. All three macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein), required for the human body are present in whole grain oats as well as fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

Whole grain oats can be easily found in food stores but they do take a longer time to cook. Global production of oats in 2019, led by Canada and Russia, was 23 million tonnes, with each country having around 20% of the total production around the world.

Whole grain oats are not refined or ground down to get rid of two-thirds of the seed. Whole grain oats are fresh and come right out of the four necessary processes.

Healthy Oatmeal Porridge With Summer Berries in a bowl

Where do porridge oats come from?

Porridge comes from upland soils and is typically consumed with milk or water and also with fruits and nuts. A traditional way to cook porridge oats in Scotland consists of only oats, salt, and water.

Porridge oats are popular around the world in the form of breakfast cereals. Porridge made out of ground oatmeal or rolled oats is common in North America, Scandinavia, Finland, New Zealand, the UK, Australia, and Ireland.

They are usually referred to as 'oatmeal' in Canada and United States.

Throughout history, porridge has been a staple food around the world, even in Africa and Europe and it remains a staple food. Hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic Age first produced porridge in south Italy, however, it became more common during the Neolithic Age.

Traditionally, porridge is associated with Scotland and this may be because oats are easily cultivated in the marginal upland soils of the country. In around 600 AD oats were introduced to Scotland, however, barley porridge traces were found in the excavated pots from the Outer Hebrides that date back to 2,500 years ago.

Porridge is currently produced by growing oats on an industrial scale in a large quantity.

Then the grains are collected and steamed in a high-pressure roller. As they are partially cooked and thinned, porridge cooks within minutes.

Where do steel cut oats come from?

Steel-cut oats come from cutting the oats into small pieces.

Steel-cut oats are also called Irish oatmeal, pinhead oats, and coarse oatmeal (UK). They are inner kernels (without the hull, called groats) of whole oats that have been cut into 2-3 small-sized pieces by steel blades and this gives them the name steel-cut oats.

Steel-cut oats were possibly the only type of oats available before quick oats were introduced in 1922. In some countries, like Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Australia, Finland, and New Zealand the steel-cut oats are called porridge even today.

Steel-cut oats are still consumed widely as breakfast with dried or fresh fruit, brown sugar, butter, or cream. Steal-cut oats are processed less compared to rolled oats. Steel-cut oats come in boxes or canisters in grocery stores.

They are stored in dry and cool places and when stored properly, these oats last for two years. Rolled oats and Scottish oats are used to make porridge.

So, steel-cut oats are a pretty old variety of oats and are usually referred to as oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are cooked with water and they also taste earthier and nuttier than rolled oats. Some fresh or dried fruits, nuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon can be added after they are cooked.

What essential nutrients are present in Oats?

Oats (Avena sativa) provide a lot of nutrients like minerals, acids, antioxidants, vitamins, starch, protein, and fiber.

Oats are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whole oats contain avenanthramides; an antioxidant and amino acid.

They lower both cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels. The fiber-rich outer layer, called the bran, is used separately in muesli or bread.

The protein content in oats is a result of avenalin and it is almost 80% of the total content. It is similar to proteins found in legumes and is not found in any other grain.

Starch present in oats is different from other grains. Beta glutin is a soluble fiber and cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin are insoluble fibers. This causes fullness after consuming and prevents overeating.

Oats contain copper, iron, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B1, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. They also have phytic acid and ferulic acid.

If consumed as boiled whole oats, they cause low insulin and glucose responses, however, if eaten after they are ground into flour then these responses can increase. Some studies also state that oats can boost your immune system and enhance the ability to fight off viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.

Whole oats can be fed to infants under six months of age, which decreases the risks of childhood asthma. No matter which type of oats you choose, you will always be eating healthily.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for Where do oats come from? Know all the facts about the healthy breakfast!

then why not take a look at Where do diamonds come from? Curious gemstone facts to be aware of, or Why do dogs bury bones? Is it a dog's natural instinct or a play?

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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