Can You Grow Oats At Home? Yes you can! Here’s how I turned oat seeds to plants. This conversation is sponsored by General Mills
I think we all know how much I love oats. I eat them for breakfast in some way or another everyday – oatmeal, overnight oats, in bread, in smoothies, in oatmeal pancakes, in baked oatmeal, in cereal, in granola, in dough boy smoothies. They’re one of the most versatile foods on earth!
Are oats healthy?
Oats are also one of the worlds healthiest foods! They’re packed with manganese and phosphorus, good-for-you fiber, antioxidants and energy.
Nutrition Benefits of Oats
Here are some of the reasons to love oats (from my own research and interpretation):
// Oats provide a great amount of fiber, low levels of fat, and a good amount of protein.
// Oats are packed with beta-glucans, a type of fiber famous for lowering cholesterol in those with elevated levels. Beta-glucans also help to stabilize blood sugar and can give the immune system a boost in the prescience of bacterial infection.
// Oats contain several antioxidants, including one unique to oats called avenanthramide that helps fight free radicals that damage cholesterol. Research by one of my favorite nutrition scientists, Dr. Liu, who I referenced frequently in my Real Food research, has suggested that the number of antioxidants in whole grains have been vastly underestimated. While the free antioxidants are a bit lower than in fruits and vegetables, the bound antioxidants are very high. (Read more about Dr. Liu’s findings in this 2004 press release.)
// Just a half cup of dry oats contain a third of the recommended daily value for magnesium, which is a co-factor to more than 300 enzymes. That’s a lot of processes to have a hand in!
// Many studies have found that eating whole grains, including oats, is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
I’d probably eat oats even if they didn’t have research to back them up because they are versatile, filling and delicious!
The history of Cheerios + are they real food?
So you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all this oat love. When Cheerios was first introduced in 1942, it was called Cheerioats because it was (and still is) made of oats. Cheerios also happen to be one of my favorite cereals. Like oatmeal, they are also a blank canvas for toppings and fruit. Although they are processed, I do consider Cheerios to be real food because the ingredient list is simple and made up of ingredients I might have in my kitchen. When I visited General Mills last year, my big question to them was: Could I make Cheerios in my home kitchen if I had the time and resources? This is always my ‘Is it real food?’ question. The Cheerios team says yes you can.
Can you grow oats at home?
To challenge me to follow through with my question, they sent me a few oat seeds to plant. This oat variety is called Leggett, and it is one of the main oats varieties used to make Cheerios. I know from being in the bread business that the variety of a plant you use can drastically change the flavors of your finished product, so I’m sure this variety of oat has special characteristics to make Cheerios taste good.
Oats are a sustainable crop that usually require less fertilizer and pesticides than other major crops, and they are hardy and have persevered when other crops (like wheat) have struggled. They typically rely entirely on rainfall – instead of irrigation – for water (good for me because I’m bad at remembering to water plants!)
Here were the growing tips Cheerios team sent me:
Tips To Grow Oats At Home
- Sun light is very important! Plants are solar collectors. Oats need light, and the more the better;
- Plant 3 to 5 seeds separately in your 6-inch pot;
- Plant the seed to your first knuckle – or about 1 to 1½ inches below the top of the pot;
- Water well; then wait until soil is dry on top to re-water. This should take about 1 week or so.
- At first the oat seeds won’t take much water but after a month or so they will start needing water almost every day;
- Adding a little fertilizer at about one month and again when the seeds start to appear will improve their health.
Following their instructions, I planted my oats in a pot that would get a decent amount of sun:
And in a few weeks they went from this:
Oats coming up and at ‘em
I don’t have any oat seeds to harvest yet (that’s part of the time + resources conditional in the real food question) but I’m sure if I kept loving on these I’d have real oats to harvest and then cook. I’ll keep you posted as time goes on!
As for the question “Can you make Cheerios in your kitchen?”… you can do that too: homemade toasted oat cereal.
This conversation is sponsored by General Mills