There is something about a warm breakfast of oats with cold milk that really excites me.
As a child, I have fond memories of oatmeal packets on early school mornings. Two minutes and a microwave meant I could enjoy oatmeal, instantly. Hence instant oats.
Once our family began our journey of real food and started thinking about food products, I had to face a hard truth. There wasn’t much “real” about my favorite oatmeal. Oatmeal on store shelves contains synthetic vitamins, “natural” and artificial colorings and flavorings, and other “goodies”. I was disappointed that my favorite bowl of morning goodness just didn’t make the real food cut.
Of course, I turned to my kitchen.
I started making homemade oatmeal with basic rolled oats from the grocery store. Soon, I found a grain co-op and began buying fifty pound bags of organic oats. Oatmeal became a frequent morning breakfast sweetened with raw honey or pure maple syrup and fresh fruit.
A couple years ago, I picked up a copy of the book “Nourishing Traditions“. It was at this time our family decided to take a step further into real food, turning from vegetarianism toward real, traditional foods. Part of this shift also meant properly preparing grains, nuts, seeds, and beans by soaking.
Why Soak Grains?
Oats and other grains and legumes contain phytic acid which is an anti-nutrient making it hard to absorb the nutrients when digested. Soaking is traditional and has been practiced as a way to make grains, nuts, seeds, and beans more digestible and help unlock the nutrients. According to Nourishing Traditions,
Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures.
Our family soaks many, not all, the grains we consume. Soaking not only improves digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals, but also allows for oats to cook quickly. The original instant oatmeal.
Soaked Oatmeal: The Original Instant Oatmeal
- Mix together: oats, 2 cups water, pure maple syrup, and acidic medium in a large bowl. Cover and let sit on the counter overnight.
- In the morning, bring 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, salt, and oat mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer around 5 minutes. Watch carefully as these oats cook quickly.
- Spoon into bowls and top with a healthy fat such as grass-fed butter or coconut oil. We also top ours with chopped walnuts, ground cinnamon, berries, raw milk, and raw honey or pure maple syrup.