Difference between Oats and Rolled Oats

Key Difference: Avena sativa or oats is a species of cereal grain that is grown for its seed, also known with the same name. Rolled oats are oat groats that are flattened using steel rollers in a mill and then pre-steamed, toasted before being packaged.

Oats have become a popular breakfast grain due to their many healthy properties. With the shift towards healthy living, almost everyone has either heard of oats or has incorporated oats into their diet. There are various different types that oats have been launched into the market, which causes a lot of confusion. There is oats, rolled oats, quick oats, instant oats, etc. Worry not, these are all types of oats, but they are just milled, packaged and sold differently.

Avena sativa or oats is a species of cereal grain that is grown for its seed, also known with the same name. Oats belong to the same classification as wheat, rye, barley and are a popular breakfast cereal in many parts of the world. Oats grow in temperate regions and have a lower summer heat requirement. They are also very tolerant and are able to thrive in poor soil conditions, where other crops die. They can also grow in wet and cold weathers, such as Northwest Europe. Oats were primarily considered as a weed before it was eventually domesticated.

Oats has various uses in addition to being used as a breakfast cereal. Oats were originally used as livestock feed and were a part of a daily diet of domestic horses, cattle and chickens. It is also used in some brands of dog and cat food. Oats are also known as cat grass, as cats enjoy eating tender young oats. Oats can also be grinded into flour, which can be used in porridge, oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread. Oats are also used in muesli (breakfast dish) and granola bars. In some European countries, oats are used for brewing beer. Oats can also used as horse or cattle bedding, as it is soft, dust-free and has an absorbent nature. Oats are also known to soothe skin conditions and are found in a few cosmetics, as well as used for medicinal purposes.

There are various different ways that oats are milled, packaged and sold:

  • Rolled Oats: Rolled oats are whole grain oats that are flattened by steel rollers to make it faster to cook. This can be further divided into thick rolled and thin rolled, where thick rolled are just thicker in size.
  • Quick Oats: These oats have been cut into small pieces before they are flattened make them even faster to cook then rolled oats.
  • Instant Oats: Instant oats are quick oats, which are previously steamed and then packaged. The consumer just has to add hot water in order to get them ready.
  • Oat Groats/Scottish Oats/Steel Cut Oats: These oats are closest to the whole grain oats. The oats groats are cut into small pieces with steel blades and packaged.
  • Oat Bran: Oat bran is similar to wheat bran that is separated from the oats and packaged and sold separately.

Rolled oats are the type of oats that are most commonly found and sold in the market.  These are oat groats that are flattened using steel rollers in a mill and then pre-steamed, toasted. The resulting flattened grain is packaged and sold. The famous Quaker Oats breakfast is made up of rolled oats. Rolled oats are also classified into two different types: thick-rolled and thin-rolled. Thick-rolled are slightly thicker in size and take a little while to cook, while the thin-rolled are thinner in size and cook relatively faster.

Rolled oats can also be used to refer to the old-fashion oatmeal or oat flakes that are commonly found as a breakfast dish. Rolled oats are also used to make granola bars and cookies. Rolled oats can also be powered and be sold as oats flour, which are used to make cookies, muffins and various other baked goods. The finer oats powder is also often used as baby food, in order to get the baby started on some type of solid food.

Oats, in any form, are a very healthy food and are an excellent source of thiamine, iron, and dietary fiber. Whole oats are also the only source of antioxidant compounds known as avenanthramides, which are believed to help protect the circulatory system from arteriosclerosis. Oats also play an important part in lowering cholesterol levels in the body, preventing heart failure, enhancing the immune system, stabilizing blood sugar, lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes, etc.


Image Courtesy: fooducate.com, homeontherangefarms.com

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