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Truly Raw Oats vs. Standard Oats

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How do your oats measure up?

Raw Oats

….they do exist!  You just have to be aware of what you are buying.  The term “raw” is loosely used in the oat world, so be sure to purchase them from a reputable resource.   If this concerns you, you should contact the manufacturer and pin them down to a specific yes/no answer on the question of heat-processing.  There are so many things to consider when it comes to food choices.  Is is raw?  Is it organic?  Is it gluten-free?  The priority list will be different for each of you according to your own health issues/needs and personal convictions.  I am not here to debate which route is right or which is wrong,  that is for you to decide.   I am here on my own personal journey, constantly in research mode,  learning what I can and making the best choices for myself.  I hope that the information I give helps to wet your whistle and start you on your own path of research.

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Here are a few other postings that I have done regarding Oats

Raw Oat Resources: to name a few

Blue Mountain Organics has found a way to bring us truly raw rolled oats. They take raw whole oats that have been never been steamed or exposed to high temperatures,  then the whole oat is passed through a slow-speed rolling mill, which they hand crank to ensure that they will not get heated.  This keeps them delicious and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

100% Organic Fresh rolled oats. These oats are cold-rolled in small batches using special equipment to retain nutrients and flavor. You can make great raw oat cookies, especially pleasing in colder weather and as a holiday treat.  Very suitable to serve to cooked foodists.  This is a gluten-free product, however, cross-contamination may occur during harvesting and transportation.

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A brief over-view of what different oats mean:

Most oats go through many processing procedures after the hull is removed. Because of this, they also usually lose a lot  of their nutrition.   It is advisable to look for oatmeal that has gone through the least processing.  Doing so will help you get the most nutrition that a bowl of oatmeal can offer.  For example, old-fashioned oats are the most processed since they have to be rolled and steamed. The bran is then removed, which is where a great deal of the nutrients reside.  The types that are least processed are steel-cut oats and oat groats.
Whole Oats
Whole oats

Whole oats have a hard outer hull that must be removed before it’s ready for human consumption. Removing this hard outer hull is not trivial, so if you want whole oats to eat, purchase them already hulled. The oat hulls are a source of the chemical solvent furfural.  Hulled oats are known as ‘groats’.

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Oat Groats
Oat groats

Oat groats are the whole oat grain, with only the hard unpalatable outer hull removed, but with the kernel’s outer bran layer left in tact. They are long and thin with a smooth shiny surface and look like brown rice. They can be eaten at this stage, but are typically processed into one of the forms below. Oat sprouts - oat groats are very easy to sprout! Sprouting increases the nutritive value.

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Steel-cut Oats
Steel-cut oats
Steel-cut oats, also known as pinhead oats and sometimes called coarse or rough oatmeal, made by passing groats through steel cutters which chop each one into three or four pieces. Since they still contain the whole grain including the oat bran,  steel-cut oats are very nutritious.
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Rolled Oats
Rolled oats
Rolled oats are made by steaming groats and flattening them with a roller. These come in two distinct varieties. The first variety is sometimes called old-fashioned, or jumbo. These are made by first steaming the whole groat for a few minutes, thus partially cooking it, then passing it between rollers to flatten it out. The second variety is sometimes called quick-cooking rolled oats.  These are made by putting steel-cut oats through the same process.

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Instant Oats
Instant oats
Instant oats are made in a similar fashion to rolled quick-cooking oats, except they are steamed longer and rolled more thinly. It produces the kind of oats used for making some types of ‘instant’ porridge.  Generally the more you process a food the less nutritious it becomes, instant oats are best avoided if you want to get the full benefit of this grain.
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Oat Flour
Oat flour
Oats can be ground in to flour which usually comes in three grades – coarse (ie steel-cut oats), medium and fine. Medium oatmeal can be used in cakes and crumble toppings to give a nutty flavor, or added to soups as a thickener/creamer.  Fine oatmeal (flour) adds a great flavor to bread and improves its shelf life due to the natural preservatives found in oats.  Since oats lack gluten, they’re typically mixed with a gluten-containing flour such as wheat flour. ** You can make it yourself by grinding rolled oats in a food processor or blender. Oat flour adds lovely flavor to recipes and because of certain natural preservative in the oats themselves, it improves their shelf life.

Resource: Eat More Oats
In a brief conclusion, I don’t and wouldn’t consider any of the oats above RAW, unless it is clearly indicated on the packaging and/or you have called the manufacturer and asked them specifically how they process their products.  During my on-line research regarding this issue, I found that there is a lot of confusion about this topic and I really couldn’t find a black and white answer.

What are your thoughts about this topic?  I would love to hear them!

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37 thoughts on “Truly Raw Oats vs. Standard Oats

  1. Adrian says:

    I’ve been trying to find information regarding the safety of raw/rolled oats. I was always under the impression that once the oat graot is damaged (i.e. rolled) the carbohydrates in the in the groat convert to sugar and with a few days the groat becomes rancid which is why heat is required after the rolling process. Do you have more information regarding how the cold-rolling process is done and what safety measures are taken to ensure the rolled oats aren’t rancid. I also have been lead to believe that unless oats are a hull-less variety they are instantly steamed or soaked after they’ve been dehulled. Even the process of removing the hull can damage the groat enough to cause rancidity. I’m hoping you can shed some light! Many thanks!

    • amie-sue says:

      Adrian,

      Great questions! I don’t know the complete process for cold-rolling process, but let me check into it. I will contact the company who makes them and ask for more details. Hang in there, I will be back! amie sue

    • Barbara says:

      I Adrian – unless the rolled oats are done to order, by yourself, or delivered to you right away and frozen, they will go rancid quickly. Most rolled oats are steamed to preserve them while sitting on store shelves. The only truly ALIVE raw oats are oats that will sprout. Another thing I discovered is that you cannot get ORGANIC Gluten Free Oats raw (well almost impossible)..because in order to keep them gluten free (free of contamination)..they have to be kept weed free….so they are sprayed, even if mildly. Definitely contact companies and ask questions.

  2. Pamela says:

    Hi, Amie-Sue,

    I came across this page in my search for an answer to the same question posted by Adrian – are there any truly raw oats that are safe to consume with regard to rancidity? If you got any answers regarding the cold-rolling process, I’d love to know!

    Thanks for this helpful page and site,
    Pamela

    • amie-sue says:

      Pamela,

      I have listed a few resources on where one can purchase raw oats…I have sent emails to the manufactures, hoping to do clearer information for you both. I haven’t heard back from them but I will send in another email. amie sue

  3. amie-sue says:

    I haven’t given up on this question Adrian and Pamela…I am having one heck of time in getting the manufactures to respond to me, but I am like a bull dog and will not let go. :) Just wanted to assure you that I haven’t forgotten about this. amie sue

  4. Tony says:

    How about bobs red mill oats. Also have a totally gluten free range. I have pasted a paragraph from his site below.

    At Bob’s Red Mill, we know that you can’t rush quality. That’s why we manufacture our products using time-honored techniques, like grinding whole grains at cool temperatures with a traditional stone mill. This production ‘secret’ allows us to seal in the freshness and bring you wholesome, quality foods, just as nature intended.

    • amie-sue says:

      Great option Tony but keep in mind they are not raw… but they are gluten-free so that’s good! I have used them when I don’t have raw ones on hand.

  5. Jeannie says:

    I buy the raw oats and I soaked them like you suggested but they turn into broken up mush and lose the rolled oat consistency. I then dried them and ground them into flour which was fine but if I wanted them whole in a recipe what would I do? I like them whole in my granola and bars and Ive never soaked them before, didnt know. I like the chewy texture they add but maybe they were causing me gas, not sure. Im just not sure if Im doing this right. Help!

    • amie-sue says:

      Jeannie,
      Unfortunately, the soaked and dehydrated oats will loss some of their original shape through this process. I recommend testing out a few brands though and see how they come out. Also, test and see if you need to soak them. I do recommend it regardless but your system may be able to digest them just fine unsoaked. How do you feel when they are soaked and dried? Less gas? Keep me posted! amie sue

  6. Steve says:

    I followed up with the Legacy Valley producers ,Montana Monster Munchies (very nice and helpful btw), about the oat groats and found a few things to note:
    1) The Amazon product listed is not raw and sprout-able anymore
    2) Amazon product is $30 now, not $20.
    3) Soap.com (Amazon owns them) has some remaining supply of the $20 raw and sprout-able variety from Legacy Valley
    4) Both products have a shelf life of about a year, and they have not sold Amazon the raw variety for some time, meaning the shelf life may be shorter if ordered from soap.com

    Once again, very open and helpful person that I spoke with. Cheers!

    • amie-sue says:

      Wow, great info Steve! Thanks for your detective work!

      • Steve says:

        A follow-up. I ordered what I thought would be the raw and sprout-able from Soap.com and got them today. While it was fast shipping, they are only labeled as “gluten free” and “raw and sprout-able” so I am not sure they have the raw in stock anymore. I’ll follow up if I have a conversation with the person from Montana Monster Munchies.

        • Steve says:

          *Huge correction* NOT labeled “raw and sproutable”. But they are still $20 versus the $30 at Amazon. Expiration was 12/13, so I have a year to eat it all (if I keep it).

    • Barbara says:

      Yup..Legacy Valley had sent me some really nice gluten free sproutable oats a couple of years ago..and then I also found out they no longer carry them..BIG BUMMER!!!

  7. Diana says:

    Hi! did you ever hear back from the manufacturers about the cold rolling method?
    Are the oat groats soaked before hand? I am imagining so since the finished product doesn’t appear dusty or crushed.

    I am also interested in how they avoid rancidity.

    It is very interesting that there is no information on the web about the cold rolling process!

    • amie-sue says:

      No Diana, I couldn’t get a response back. I know, it’s hard to find information on this process. I have googled and searched, googled and searched myself. One day, I , we shall get to the bottom of this! :)

  8. sharifa says:

    I am 55 taking probiotic every day last two months and enzy-gest with 3 meal try to eat guletin free.last week I had breakfast with uncooked rolled oats 2 cup +2 cups apple juice + one banana. Blend oats first then add juice and banana last. Verry testy thick pest 3 day breakfast , I enjoyed it ! Today I was looking for raw oat & find this page ! my concern is this good or not ?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Sharifa…. Is what good? The breakfast that you made? I would always recommend soaking and rinsing your oats first before using them in a recipe… Have you read this post I did about this…. http://nouveauraw.com/raw-recipies/breakfast/soaking-oats/

      • sharifa says:

        Hi
        Is it good for my body ? I feel my tummy liked it . I will read the link you gave me . Thank you very much.

        • amie-sue says:

          All of the ingredients listed have wonderful health benefits to them… only you can answer that question. If your tummy liked it, you digested it fine, it didn’t cause any ill feelings, I think you did good! But I can’t really answer that question since I don’t know your health condition, etc. I hope that makes sense. :)

  9. Miki says:

    Hello, I love your website!

    I have WHOLE raw oats from “LoveRawFoods” brand – how can I make raw oats porridge for breakfast from them? I used to make it from rolled oats from the same brand but Blue Mountain website doesn’t have them.

    Thank you very much for your advice!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Miki….

      I always recommend soaking them first to remove the phytic acid. Have you read the post I did on this?

      http://nouveauraw.com/raw-recipies/breakfast/soaking-oats/

      I also have many recipe listed under Breakfast if you are interested. :)

      Let me know if you have further questions after reading the above post. Blessings, amie sue

      • Miki says:

        Good Evening, Amie Sue! Thank you so much for your reply!

        I read your article about soaking oats (very helpful), I am just not sure if WHOLE oats are going to be edible raw after the soaking – do they taste the same as rolled after the soaking and should I blend them as well?
        Blessings to you and your family!

        • amie-sue says:

          They should be Miki. Do a small single serving batch to test and see if you like them this way. You can blend or not, depends on the texture that you are after. Blended they make a nice porridge and you can add 1 Tbsp chia seeds too. The sky is the limit on what can be added. I like both forms of texture… the smooth blended is more of a comfort food to me, but that is based off of childhood memories and so forth. Let me know what you decide to try. :)

  10. Gary Iverson says:

    Montana Gluten Free is a major supplier of Raw Gluten Free Oatmeal. Our PrOatina hulless (avena nuda sp.) oats were selected for high protein, hulless and hairless. We dry roll our oatmeal and because it is dry rolled and we do not damage the germ we have a shef life that is significantly longer than conventionally steamed, rolled, cooked, and heat stabelized products. We have both truley natural and organic product (it is dificult to find organic ground clean enough to produce gluten free). We also offer raw flour and bran.
    We would be happy to send you some to try.

  11. ektomp says:

    Hi,
    I am truly enjoying your website!
    Did you receive the gift from Gary Iverson of the free Raw Gluten Free Oatmeal? If so, how do you rate it? Is it worth purchasing and can it only be found online?

    Thanks!

  12. Nicole says:

    Eye opener……lots to learn since starting this RAW journey two months ago.

    Thank you for taking the time to educate people like myself. Hats off!

  13. Rose Vasile says:

    Hi Amie-Sue…love your blog!!!!! Here’s some info about oats from my book Uncooking With RawRose:
    Hulls are removed from oats, leaving an oat groat. Oat groats are high in fat, so once the hull is removed, an oat groat will go rancid within a few days. Therefore, all oat groats for human consumption are hulled, then “stabilized” (heated to 200 degrees for an hour or more to stabilize enzyme action). As a result oat groats won’t sprout and aren’t raw. Steel cut oats and Scottish oats are cut after the heating process. To produce rolled oats, stabilized oats are steamed then rolled. This was surprising to me, so I contacted a number of oat producers in Canada and the US, and they confirmed the above.
    There is a hulless oat available. Because it is grown without a hull, it doesn’t need to be heated to stabilize it. I tried various ways of making raw oatmeal with it, but it has a grainy mouthfeel – not something I’d recommend.

  14. Bulut says:

    Whenever I buy organic rolled oats (or whole oats) where I live (no matter what brand), they always have this slightly bitter taste. It’s not like they taste foul or rancid, but they’re just not nearly as sweet as regular rolled oats.

    The guy at the store told me it’s because they’re not roasted or steamed. What I’m wondering is, is it safe to eat them like this?

    I have tried soaking them overnight in water (with salt or vinegar) and the bitterness was still present. I’d appreciate any tips!

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