Oats were one of the first cereals cultivated by man. They were to be found growing in ancient China as long ago as 7000 BC while the Greeks are believed to be the first to make porridge from oats. However, it was the Romans who introduced oats to other countries in Western Europe, and also gave them and other cultivated crops the name cereals, after the Roman goddess of agriculture – Ceres. The cultivation of oats is particularly suited to Ireland’s climatic conditions and thus oatmeal became a staple food of the Irish from prehistoric times until the seventeenth century. Vast quantities of oatmeal were consumed in the form of porridge or ‘stirabout’ (a thick mixture). With the introduction of the potato in the late sixteenth century, the prevalence of oatmeal porridge declined as potatoes superseded oats as the staple diet and only in times of poor potato harvest did it temporarily regain its pre-potato status. However despite the potato, oats still held a strong foothold in the national diet well into the late nineteenth century. Most households also stored oatmeal for the production of porridge, bread – and importantly, as an ingredient for the manufacture of black puddings. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries oatmeal became increasingly popular when it was mixed with whiskey as a cure for the common cold. During this period, porridge increasingly became a breakfast dish, further promoted by the establishment of commercial oatmeal producers in eighteenth century Ireland.
Porridge Oats is a Super-food offering the following benefits…
- Low in fat and saturated fat, helping treatment of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
- A medium glycaemic Index – helping reduce blood cholesterol as part of a healthy diet.
- High in soluble fibre.
- Low in salt and sugar.
- Contain many vitamins and minerals.
- Can be added to sweet and savory foods, to vary the taste.