Sunday, December 08, 2013

Refrigerator oatmeal success and failure.

We've hit that time of year where a warm breakfast is just what I'm looking for in the morning. Usually, I would go for the instant oatmeal because, well, it is quick and easy. Then I started to read about 'refrigerator' oatmeal. I suppose it was back in the summer when I first encountered this. The premise is that your oatmeal will 'cook' (read the oats will absorb the liquid and plump up) overnight and be ready to eat first thing in the morning.

My first attempt was with rolled oats and yogurt, as the summer recipes were recommending. It was ok, but it didn't sit quite right with me. Something about the texture versus the taste just wasn't appealing. I promptly forgot about it for a few months. Then, last week as I was preparing myself a bowl of steel cut oatmeal, I thought that there had to be a better way, an easier way to make this. I recalled the refrigerator oatmeal thing.

When I found this recipe, I thought I had found the thing that would work best for me. I mean, little to no effort and I get the wonderful texture of steel cut oats in the morning, who wouldn't want that? I regret that I didn't take the time to read the comments attached to that post. I set up four little jars of oatmeal in the refrigerator, three with the last of my steel cut oats and one with my rolled oats.

According to theory, if I let them sit over night, they would be ready to eat the next morning. What I discovered is that the rolled oats were perfect. The steel cut oats, on the other hand, had hardly changed. Deciding that perhaps they needed more time to 'cook' in the fridge, I let them sit for two more days. Nary a thing had changed when this morning rolled around. I was extremely disappointed.

The rolled oats, I did find, not only plumped up and were quite tasty in the morning, I had equal success using milk or water. I skipped the yogurt and used as much liquid as I would normally add if I were cooking them. As I prefer my oatmeal made with water and a pinch of salt, I was really happy with this development.

Now, one may ask, what do I do with my oatmeal in the morning? Since I have it in a pint jar, I can eat it straight out of the jar cold (which I did with my initial experiment in the summer) or I can pop the whole thing into the microwave and heat it up. If I don't feel like eating it out of the jar after heating it, I can pour it into a bowl. Either way, I have taken to pouring a generous amount of maple syrup on it and throwing some diced apples into the mix.

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