Eat Local

Published on August 26th, 2008 | by Valerie Taylor


Oat Groats: Cheap, Tasty, Healthy Breakfast

Cooked oat groatsI’m eating a lot of oat groats these days. I found a source for locally-grown oat groats, but the minimum order was 25 pounds. Oat groats are the least processed of all edible forms of oats, so they store a very long time (some sources are giving them 30 years under the right conditions.) So even though I’d never tasted them before, I decided to give them a try. I figured any minimally-processed food was a good addition to our diet, and even if it took us years to use them up, it’d be okay. And in the meantime if the apocalypse arrived, there’d be something to eat. Win-win-win.

Oh. My. God. This is what oats taste like. I like good old-fashioned oatmeal just fine — I’ve eaten it for years, still happy to eat it if that’s what’s on the table. When I discovered pinhead oats and stone ground oatmeal, though, I realized just how much regular oatmeal had lost in the process of being…well, processed. (Don’t speak to me of instant oatmeal. That’s not a food.) So it comes as no surprise that getting closer to the whole grain results in an even more interesting taste and texture.

Even so, oat groats were a revelation. If you’ve never had them, you are missing out. They take a while to cook — these are not a convenience food — but they’re so worth it. They’re nutty, with a firm texture. The cooked grains are bigger than a grain of cooked rice, which along with the chewy texture makes them much more interesting than the soupy-paste of rolled oats and superior even to that of pinhead oats, which up until now I’d thought the pinnacle of oat gastronomy.

And I’m starting to see the 25-pound minimum order as an advantage. I paid $0.65/pound for my oat groats, which works out to about five cents for a 3/4 cup serving. In the morning, I bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add a 1/2 t of salt and a cup (~5 oz) of oat groats and set it over my heat diffuser on the lowest setting on my stove. It barely simmers for 45 minutes and is ready just about the time the rest of the family rolls into the kitchen. Add a splash of milk and you’ve got breakfast for four. Pretty good for maybe a quarter.

Other breakfast ideas:

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About the Author

I'm a mom and writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. In trying to eat more locally and sustainably, I discovered something unexpected: looking for food locally allows me -- even forces me -- to examine very closely all aspects of feeding myself and my family. When I look nearby for food, I find a whole lot more.

7 Responses to Oat Groats: Cheap, Tasty, Healthy Breakfast

  1. theresa says:

    I was wondering where do you purchase your oat groats?

  2. karen says:

    I would like to know how I can order the groats. Could you please provide name and address? Thank you

  3. Maria says:

    Please provide the information to get the oatmela groats. You have no idea how I want to buy the oatmealgroats. I have eaten them before and I love them, I used to get them across the border of texas in Mexico but it is illegal to cross them. Please tell me where I can get them here in the states.

  4. David says:

    It’s pretty simple to turn oat groats into a convenience food: what I do is pressure cook 1 or 2 cups of groats every few days (only takes about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker), and then put it into the fridge. Every morning I just take a bit out, add some water, and bring it to a boil on the stove: voilà, instant groats! They stay good for about a week, but I try to only cook 3 or 4 days worth at a time to keep them as fresh as possible.

    Also: can buy them at

  5. Ben says:

    OR you can bring them to a boil and put them in a thermos type (stanley, alladin) vacuum flask and let them sit on the counter all night. by morning they are done ;) (it also helps to put hot water in the thermos while bringing to a boil, then pour out the hot water and pour in the groats)

  6. oats says:

    Most health food stores have them, you shouldn’t have to mail order them.

    Another way to make them without slaving over the stove is a crock-pot. They take about 8 hours on low so just toss the oats and liquid into the pot before bed and wake up the smell of fresh oats.

    To mix things up add fruit and cinnamon, or substitute fruit juice for some of the water.

  7. katherine shauger says:

    Oat groats are delicious. Bob’s Red Mill sells them. Eat them in fall and winter since I discovered them in nutrition section here in Portland, Oregon @ Fred Meyer stores.

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