Wild oat grass (Avena sterilis)
was ancestral to the
cultivated oat (Avena sativa) and was found
throughout the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Oat was a
late grass to be domesticated It was in Bronze Age Europe
that the grain started to appear as a secondary crop for animal feed.
Much of the oat production goes to horse and cattle feed, but it is
also rolled for porridge and oat flour is used to make bread.
Oat bread first appeared in England in the nineteenth century
and the traditional oat breads are still made in Scotland.
Pinhead oats - the grain is passed through a steel cutter which divides each grain into four pieces. This process is the basis for oatcakes.
Rolled oats - the pinhead oats are steamed and passed through rollers to give a flat grain used for making porridge. Jumbo oats are produced where the same process is used on the whole grain.
Oatmeal - is a flour which in its course form is used for oatcakes and in its finest form for bread making and biscuits.