As a whole grain, oats contain a hearty dose of fiber, as well as multiple health-enhancing nutrients, including phosphorous, potassium, manganese and selenium. Whether you eat raw soaked oats, oat groat, steel-cut oats or rolled oats, soaking them ahead of time softens the oat kernels.
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Including oats in your diet will help you meet the whole grain recommendations made by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Mix the soaked oats with a handful of fruit and nuts and eat them cold as muesli. Or warm them on the stove over medium-low heat for five minutes before serving them as a nutritious, filling breakfast or snack.
Read more: The 4 Best Instant Oatmeals (and 5 to Avoid)
Step 1: Add Your Liquid
Measure the desired amount of oats into a glass bowl, using approximately ½ cup of uncooked oats per serving. Pour the liquid into the bowl with the oats, using two times as much liquid as oats; for example, if you've measured 1 cup of oats into the bowl, then you'll need 2 cups of liquid for soaking.
Possible options include plain water, low-fat milk, soy milk and yogurt, or use a combination of these options, such as equal amounts of milk and yogurt. Or, try soaking oats in almond milk.
Step 2: Mix Ingredients and Soak
Mix the contents of the bowl with a spoon to thoroughly blend the oats and the liquid. Cover the bowl loosely with a paper towel. Place the bowl carefully in the refrigerator and leave it to soak for 12 to 24 hours.
The length of time you soak your oats typically affects the consistency of the final product. A shorter soak time produces firm, crunchier oatmeal, while a longer soak time generally yields softer, pudding-like oatmeal — a texture that might be desirable when soaking oats for porridge.
Step 3: Blend and Cook
Remove the oat-filled bowl from the refrigerator and discard the paper towel. Stir the mixture in the bowl to blend it completely.
Spoon the soaked oats into a cooking pot for heating on the stove or into a bowl if you'd rather eat raw soaked oats. Before serving, add sliced or mashed fruit or vegetables, such as banana, pumpkin or peaches, for a nutritious boost of flavor and sweetness.
Read more: What is the Nutritional Value of Oatmeal?
Know Your Oats
Oats come in many forms, as described by the Whole Grains Council. Oat groat, the least processed type of oats, consist of oat kernels — only the inedible outer hull has been removed.
Steel-cut oats are oat groat sliced into several pieces with a metal blade. Because of their minimal processing, steel cut oats contain more soluble fiber than more processed types, according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Rolled oats undergo a steaming or toasting process before being rolled into flattened flakes. This process provides increased surface area which helps the oats cook faster.
Rolled oats are often called "old fashioned" oats. To produce quick oats or instant oats, rolled oats are steamed longer and rolled thinner. This processing changes the texture of your oats, but the nutrition stays the same.
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