When you eat oatmeal you are probably used to reaching into a box and scooping out a spoonful of light, fluffy white flakes. But did you know that there is another type of oatmeal that you may want to try? Make steel-cut oatmeal for change in your oatmeal routine.
Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oats, pinhead oats, or coarse-cut oats, differ from rolled oats due to the way they are prepared. Rolled oats are the more common variety of oats found in the United States, and are made by crushing oat grains. In the process of creating steel-cut oats, oat grains are cut into two to three pieces instead of crushed, creating a dried oatmeal that looks and feels more like pieces of rice than the fluffy flakes of rolled oats most are used to.
Steel-cut oats take longer to prepare than rolled oats, between 20 to 40 minutes depending on the amount or brand of oat that is chosen. Steel-cut oats also have a different texture than rolled oats, since they have not been flattened they have a more full-bodied texture, vaguely reminiscent of rice but much more like a porridge. Many prefer steel-cut oats to rolled oats because of the slight nutty, hearty flavor of the steel-cut oats.
Although the nutritional benefits of rolled oats and steel-cut oats are the same, due to the lack of processing in the steel-cut oats their glycemic index is lower than that of rolled oats.
Steel-cut oats are often hard to find. If they can not be found with other oatmeal at local grocery stores, try looking in the organic section or visiting a health food or specialty food store. One popular brand of steel-cut oats is McCann’s. Steel-cut oats are slightly more expensive than their rolled oat counterparts, but the hearty flavor and texture of steel-cut oats makes it worthwhile.