Groats are the whole-grain kernels of various cereal grains including barley, wheat, rye, and oat. As a whole grain, groats retain the germ, bran, and endosperm after being hulled, a process that removes its outer covering, called the husk or hull. The discarded husks and hulls are sometimes referred to as chaff.
While all three parts of the grain make groats nutritious, they also give them a harder, more chewy texture than most grains. For this reason, groats cannot be eaten without first being steamed or soaked, although the cooking time will vary based on the grain.
Oat Groats If you’ve ever had steel-cut or Irish oats, then you’ve basically had oat groats. Steel-cut oats are simply oat groats that have been sliced two or three times so that they cook faster, especially over the stovetop. Similarly, Scottish oats are finely ground oat groats. Wheat Groats Wheat groats are also known as wheat berries and bulgur. Wheat groats can be used as a substitute for other grains such as quinoa in recipes like my vegetarian stuffed acorn squash.
Barley Groats Barley groats are also known as hulled barley and have a similar nutty flavor to oat and wheat groats. They are slightly thicker than oat and wheat groats, so they are more often used in savory dishes like beef barley stew and chicken barley soup. Buckwheat Groats Sometimes the word groat is used to describe buckwheat in its whole kernel form. Although buckwheat isn’t technically a grain, it is a seed with very grain-like qualities and is cooked similarly to grains.