Long ago and far away I lived in a land where oatmeal was rarely ever served. It was called childhood, and oatmeal was something that seemed only to be made when camping. Quick oats, cooked on a campstove, with some brown sugar and margarine tossed on top. I liked the mouth feel of it, and wondered why we did not eat it more often. My teen years came along and a marvelous invention came along- instant oatmeal ! It made a great quick breakfast for those mornings that cold cereal was out ( breakfast on the weekdays was always cereal- eggs or pancakes or oatmeal were weekend things). One day as an adult I discovered steel cut oats, and I thought I had conquered the world of potential oat nutrition. Then came adding things like pumpkin and nut butters to that bowl or even overnight oats in the fridge. Well move over kids, oats have a way to be made even better- soaked oats !!!
Why soak oats ? The reason is phytic acid. Soaking oats for 12-24 hrs allows the acid to be broken down and what remains is more available to the body for digestion. How to do this and why can be found at this most excellent post !
A long-term diet of untreated (soaked or fermented) grains will lead to mineral deficiencies and disease.
It's an old Irish tradition of soaking oats in milk or water and leaving them that way overnight. Consider that people of Irish descent in our modern world tend to have a higher than average rate of things like Celiac Disease . In our modern world few people soak grains, and perhaps this forgotten practice is one of the causing factors.In days gone by, the Quaker Oats box included he directions to soak them overnight. These bits of trivia also add credence to the practice.
I soaked our oats for 24 hrs and in the morning added the additional water and pumpkin puree. We really like pumpkin in oatmeal for some reason ! Then I placed a spoonful of homemade almond butter and a tablespoon of ground flax in each bowl, added the cooked oats and poured a tablespoon of real maple syrup on top of this.
The results ? The best bowl of oatmeal I had ever made ! Creamy, a richer flavor and incredibly satisfying. It was completely worth the effort to soak them ahead of time, and is something I will do from now on.
I cannot wait to try working with the soaking technique for yeast breads !!