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March 25, 2011

Oats - How to Sprout

I use sprouted oats in the preparation of breads, crackers, cookies, cereal, cakes, etc. There is a lot of confusion with regard to raw oats in particular. I'm going to post the information I've found to be most helpful and hopefully save you some of the frustration I encountered.


Quinoa(front) and hulless oats(rear)
Oats contain high levels of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, and minerals such as phosphorous, iron, selenium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Numerous studies showed that a diet high in beta-glucan from oats help to lower blood LDL cholesterol. Oats may also help stabilize blood glucose levels, and benefit people with diabetes

I prefer "hulless" oats for sprouting, as they have a longer shelf life, but you can use hulled oats, so long as they are alive. Hulless oats are grown without hulls and may be referred to as Naked Oats. Do an online search for suppliers that specify the oats are sproutable.  I've use hulless oats from Jaffe Brothers with great success, and a very high sprout rate, however, if you are gluten sensitive these may not work for you.  My preference is for gluten free hulless oats, however finding them raw and sproutable has been a challenge. See Resource list below.



Sprouted - Day 2-3 - Perfect
Unless specified, many oat groats have been steamed to lengthen shelf life,  and are not raw or sproutable. Steel Cut Oats  or rolled oats have been either chopped in pieces or processed, and more often than not, steamed in order to prevent rancidity. In a pinch, if your oats are not raw and sproutable, but you want to use them anyway, soak them overnight and use as the recipe directs, but please note these oats are not raw.



How to Sprout Oats
Rinse oats in a sieve or colander. Place in a large glass jar well covered with water and soak for 6-8 hours. (Oats will double or triple in size, so choose a large enough jar and make sure there is enough water).

Rinse well, drain, and return to jar, covered with a sprouting lid, screen, paper towel, or cheese cloth.  Let sprout 24 hours or so until tails just barely start to burst. (see photo on left). Rinse and drain every 6-8 hours, making sure to drain well. (I place my jar in a dish drain at a 45 degree angle, or in a large bowl tilted down to drainl).

Note: For raw oatmeal, soak  overnight, and don't sprout. Follow recipe HERE.

How to Prepare Sprouted Oat Flour
Spread sprouted oats on a non-stick dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 110 degrees until completely dry, stirring as needed to ensure all oats are dehydrated well. Place oats in a glass jar, and freeze them for a few hours, or store them there until you are ready to grind your flour.

I use a nut and spice grinder by Cuisinart to grind my flour, or a Vitamix dry blender. In the nut and spice grinder, use small amounts at a time (don't fill up the cup), stopping and starting the machine so you don't overheat it or the oats.  Store any leftover oat flour in a cool, dry place. I prefer the freezer or refrigerator. Remember, nuts, seeds and grains contain oil, and once ground can get rancid rather quickly. If not using in a short period of time...FREEZE.

I like to run flour thru a sieve or sifter. The oats that do not go through sifter, are great for oatmeal or fiber in cookies, cakes, puddings, etc.

Click HERE for additional Sprouting Tips

Resource List for Gluten Free Oats: Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are easily contaminated by wheat  and miscellaneous weeds during growing or processing. Bob's Red MillCream Hill EstatesGF HarvestAvena Foods and Legacy Valley offer gluten-free oats, but most of them will not sprout. Ask your physician if these oats are acceptable for you. 


My Smart Foods carries Cavena Nuda and while a little pricey, they are gluten free, and seem to be sprouting for me, although I was a bit nervous at first.. I'm still working with them and talking to the company, who takes a lot of pride in their product. These are worth checking out. They do sprout very slowly compared to other oats I've worked with, and at first I thought they were not raw. I was ready to toss them, but left a handful in the jar, when I noticed spiny shoots coming out of the seeds. It took about 4 to 5 days and by then, they tasted very bitter.  The good news is, I don't sprout oats to that point, or they do get bitter. The test is only to show whether or not the batch is raw and alive. To test, soak and sprout about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of oats.


For food preparation I suggest only soaking them overnight, draining well, and sprouting for 1 day (not longer). You may not see any tails forming on the Cavena Nuda, but if they passed the original sprout test, they are fine and you are getting the added benefits of sprouting.


Note: Legacy Valley stopped selling their raw gluten free sproutable oats. If you find them online, and they still say sproutable, they are probably pretty old. 


6 comments :

rawkinmom said...

THanks for the useful tips!!! This has always been quite confusing to me!!!! :)

Sasha said...

Very interesting. I am using oat groats and I soak them overnight but don't sprout just blend. I have used them twice and wonder if mine could be bad. I just don't love the taste. The initial taste is good, but I get some weird aftertaste. I will try again.

Rawfully Tempting (Barbara) said...

Sasha - What do they look like? Are they cut in smaller pieces like steel cut oats are are they whole? Well, the best way to see if they are alive, is to sprout them, at least so you know they are fresh and still living...

Sometimes, grains in the store, sit in barrels for a long time and get rancid...smell them too. If they are bad, they might have an odor. If you are getting a bad taste...you could be soaking them too long and they are going sour? Not sure...hard to tell. Let us know how you make out!

Liza Rose said...

I'm so glad I found your post! I have been unable to find affordable sprouting oats - I've been searching over a year! Jaffe Bros. were amazing: friendly, affordable, and fast. My plan is to make sprouted oatmeal cookies. The oats are on my counter now! Go oats! Liza Rose. atomicproof.blogger.com

LeonKennedy said...

Sorry for necroposting, but I have a question. I have a package of oat groats and rolled oats. The guy in the store swears that they're raw, but they have a slightly bitter taste. Is that normal? He said it's cause they're raw but I wanted to make sure, thanks.

Barbara Shevkun said...

Hi LeonKennedy - Well, I've never heard the term necroposting, but please feel free to post any time when you have questions. The whole oat thing can be very confusing. First off, rolled oats cannot be raw unless they were fresh cut for you from raw oats..but to roll oats and put them on the shelf - they would go rancid if not heated. I do know one company that sells rolled oats...obviously once they are cut..they are no longer alive...but are FRESH.

As for oat groats, the only way to test is to do what i suggested above, and try to sprout a handful. Follow the directions I posted..soaking over night, rinsing/draining..and then sprouting in a sprout jar, or for this, even in a nut milk bag or cheese cloth. It's just a test...tails should start to form within 12-24 hours..and continue to grow. IF they sprout tails - they are raw. If they don't sprout...they are not raw or alive. I hope this helps...Good luck.

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