Oatmeal -

The title "oatmeal," though properly applicable only to the ground meal of the grain, is commonly applied indifferently to both ground and "rolled" oats. It was formerly retailed principally in bulk, but to-day package goods are almost exclusively used. The change has been of great advantage to both merchant and consumer, for oatmeal exposed to the air, as in the ordinary bin, is much subject to depreciation in flavor - and consequently in value. Unless packed in airtight boxes or bags it rapidly becomes "old" and acquires a disagreeably bitter flavor.

In manufacture, the grain is cleaned by various processes, next kiln-dried - which loosens the hull and also develops the nutty flavor of the kernel or "groat" - and then put through machines which remove the hulls. All forms of oatmeal are produced from the "groats" thus obtained.

For Rolled oats, the groats go to heated rolls which flatten them into the flakes familiar to the consumer, the rolling being followed by additional cleansing processes to loosen and remove the fine particles of floury matter, etc., before the flakes are filled into the packages. Fully 90% of the present consumption of oatmeal in this country is of this semi-cooked "rolled oats" type, which owes much of its popularity to its easier preparation for the table.

oatmeal other than Rolled oats is divided into two classes : Steel-cut, in three sizes, and Ground, graded from Coarse to Extra-Fine. Steel-Cut is obtained by passing the groats through special cutting machines. Ground oatmeal is Steel-Cut oatmeal ground between corrugated steel rolls.

The use of oatmeal, of the Rolled oats type, is largely on the increase here, but it is not yet so extensively consumed as in many European countries. There is, however, an important foreign demand for the American product.

oats are very rich in gluten and contain appreciable quantities of fat and sugar. In this country, the grain is used very little for human food purposes except as a cereal or as "groats" or "grits" in the preparation of gruel, but in other parts of the world it is employed in a variety of ways. It cannot be leavened into bread because it lacks the proportion of gliadin found in the gluten of wheat, but it makes excellent "cakes."

In Scotland, the most popular form of consumption is as "brose," prepared by stirring the meal with boiling water, or broth, etc., until it has the consistence of "hasty pudding." If more diluted and boiled for a longer time, it becomes "porridge." The coarse meal is also cooked in thick cakes called "bannocks," and finer qualities in thin cakes or wafers. Another palatable dish is made by toasting the meal before a bright fire, then mixing it with a little beef or mutton fat, pepper, salt and fine-chopped onions, and again toasting it.

In Ireland, oatmeal is mixed with cornmeal and then stirred into boiling water or whey and milk, the result being known as "Stirabout."

In Norway, a common food among the peasantry is a thin cake, called "flad brod," made of ground oats, husk and all, mixed sometimes with barley meal, potatoes or peameal, baked in a griddle or frying pan. See also article on CEREALS.

Arround Oatmeal in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


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