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May 17, 2016

Anson Mills Stone Cut Oats

by Anne Paddock

Behold the phenomenon of real fresh oats.

Agricultural products depend on soil, seed, farming practices, preparation and enjoying the final product so it goes beyond saying that not all oats are created equal. In fact, it’s more accurate to say that oats – like many other products (think grocery store tomatoes versus Farmhouse tomatoes) – vary tremendously in flavor and it’s not because some are instant, flakes, or steel-cut but rather if the oat has been bred for flavor (as opposed to yield, visual appeal, shelf life, disease resistance, or transport) and grown in soil that uses crop rotation to maximize the nutrients and thus the flavor of the oat. Healthy, nutrient rich soil makes great tasting food.

It’s really that simple but somehow along the way, oats have gone the way of tomatoes: consistent, bland, and disappointingly predictable. So, we add cream, milk, sugar, syrup, nuts, fruits, and other toppings to make that boring bowl of oatmeal taste like something special. Not that toppings are a bad thing. Some additions add wonderful flavors and textures to oatmeal and yet allow the earthy flavor of oatmeal to still be front and center. But the secret is in the oats. If you have great tasting oats, you don’t need to add a whole lot of stuff to a bowl of oatmeal.Anson_MIlls_Oatmeal

Anson Mills of Columbia, South Carolina makes hands-down the best tasting stone cut oats on the market. Grown in the Carolinas, the fresh organic oats are so loaded with natural oils that they must first be toasted, which brings out the flavor of the oats (think of the difference between a raw pecan and a lightly toasted pecan; both delicious but the toasted pecan has a richer, nuttier flavor). After the oats are hulled, the groats are stone cut on the bias to retain a portion of their original coarse texture and the whole germ flavor.Anson_Mills_Toasted_OatsPhoto Credit:  Kay Rentschler

Toasted, hulled, and hand-milled the very day they are shipped makes for fresh oats delivered to your door. Make sure to store the oats in the freezer to retain freshness. A 12-ounce resealable packet is $5.95 while 10 pounds is $59.50 through Anson Mills’ on-line store:

Anson Mills Handmade Toasted Stone Cut Oats are easy to make:  simply place a cup of the oats in a pot with 3 cups of water, bring to a simmer, stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Ladle the moist earthy oats into 3-4 bowls and enjoy. Sprinkle with whole or diced fruit or a spoonful of granola (adds a slight crunch) and breakfast is ready. The fresh oat aroma and toasted flavor is something you will not soon forget.Anson_Mills_Cooked Oats

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