What is Oatmeal?

Oatmeal in mason jar

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Oatmeal (Avena sativa)

Oatmeal comes from oat grains, a cereal grass. Oatmeal is most commonly consumed by humans as a cooked cereal. Raw, harvest oats are used as feed for animals. For human consumption, the oats are processed to some extent.

There are many different forms of edible oats and oatmeal. It is important to know the differences before selecting oatmeal products for your recipes.

Today, oats and oatmeal products are touted as a natural wonder food, but prior to the 1800s, oats were considered horse and cattle fodder.

Samuel Jackson's "Dictionary of the English Language," written in 1755, defines oats as "a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people." Oatmeal has come a long way!