Naked Oats

Testing moisture levels 2013 sm
At Adagio Acres, we believe that the greatest innovations in agriculture often come from the past, where our ancestors carefully selected the seeds that would provide for their families and communities in the years to come.  So it’s no surprise that when we talk about sustainability, organic land management, and carbon emission reductions, some of the best solutions are waiting to be dug out of the historical plant archives and put into practice.  For thousands of years, naked oats were a grain of choice for farmers in Asia and Europe because they can be rolled or ground into flour with minimal processing, yielding a nutritious and flavourful food with a variety of uses.

Swathing 2013-1

Conventional hulled oats are encased in an inedible hull, which makes them a favoured choice for industrial agriculture which values durability of transport and long storage over nutrition and taste.  These hulled oats require heat processing to stabilize the enzymes which are activated in the dehulling process.  Naked, less creatively called ‘hulless oats’, lose their hulls in the field, returning nutrients directly to the soil.  They can then be rolled without any industrial heat treatment, bringing you a time-honoured product that is raw, unprocessed, and naturally tasty!

Interestingly enough, throughout the ages, in Europe and the newly settled North America, farmers would often grow conventional hulled oats for their horses (because horses need a bit of extra fibre, and can chew through the hull), and then would grow a smaller patch of hulless/naked oats for themselves.  About 20 years ago, there was a resurgence of interest in hulless oats for…the racehorse market!  Racehorse owners were looking for the highest energy food they could get to their animals, and “discovered” naked oats.  And 99.9% of the oats fed to people are hulled oats that have been mechanically dehulled because our teeth just aren’t up to the task.  Silly, eh?

Although oats are already considered a superfood because of their ability to lower cholesterol and contribute to a healthy heart, naked oats are even more super: a serving of naked oats provides 9g of protein compared with 7g in conventional oats, and they also have higher levels of fibre and iron!  If you’re looking for some porridge ideas to spice up your morning, our porridge recipe/suggestions are here.

 

A close neighbour was out feeding the cows one cold spring morning, and nearly fell off his tractor seat when he heard our oats mentioned on the radio.  Here’s what Charles Adler of CJOB Radio has to say about our naked oats:

 

 

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Storage Recommendations:

Because our Naked Oats are not heat treated in the milling process, they are somewhat more sensitive to moisture in storage.  Under certain conditions (high moisture levels and no air barrier in storage), a bitter flavour can develop as the oats oxidize.  To ensure that our customers have the freshest and highest quality product possible, we recommend using our product within 1 year of milling (this date is printed on the bottom of each package), or within 2 months of opening the package.  However, these dates are just guidelines.  If a package has been sealed and kept dry, they will remain fresh and tasty much longer than this!

Another oddity – our oats do not play nicely on the playground with coconut oil.  For some unknown reason, there is a strange reaction that often occurs when naked oats and coconut oil are combined.  This doesn’t seem to happen with regular oats, so perhaps is because of the lack of heat processing, or perhaps because of the higher energy/protein content of naked oats.  We haven’t entirely figured it out yet, but have been doing some shelf-life testing to help us figure out who is bullying who, and whether we can help them sort out their differences and live happily together.  But in the meantime, give them some space.  Thanks 🙂

 

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