Part two in my mini-oatmeal series. Part one here.
Last time we chatted about oats, I mentioned that I sometimes eat my oats cold. Cold oats are perfect in the Summer when it is too hot to cook and when you crave cool and refreshing foods.
Cold oats (or more commonly knows as overnight oats across the food blogosphere) are oats that are soaked for a long period of time (i.e. overnight) in order to cook them. You see, soaking oats for a long period of time is the same as cooking oats for a short period of time. Here is how it works:
With stove-top or microwave oats, you introduce heat. This heat denatures the proteins in the oats (converting complex proteins into simpilier ones), rendering them cooked/broken down/more digestible. Only a short amount of time is required to cook the oats when using heat.
With overnight oats, heat is not used to cook the proteins, but water is. When the oats are soaked in water (plus a pinch of salt), the water slowly hydrolyses the protein bonds in the oats (a molecule of water 'chops' peptide bonds in half). Hydrolysis is a slow process, which is why a longer period of time is required to cook/breakdown/make more digestible.
Basic cold oats recipe: 1/2 cup oats + 1 cup milk or mylk + pinch of sea salt*
Place the ingredients in a bowl or container let 'cook' overnight. In the morning or the night before, stir-in or pile-on the toppings! *Optional: Add 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds (makes the mixture much thicker, almost like a yogurt or doughy batter consistency)
The most creative and fun way to make cold oats is to use an empty nut/seed butter jar. This has been dubbed oats in a jar (OIAJ) by food bloggers. When a jar is almost empty, add your oats, milk/mylk, salt, fruit, and any other topping you want into the jar. Give it a stir, then keep in the fridge overnight. In the morning you have an instant breakfast that is portable too. No dirty dishes either, as you'll just need to rinse out the jar before recycling.
Need some cold oat inspiration, here are some of my creations:
(Oh, and if you need even more inspiration, check out these super fancy cold oat recipes).
Strawberry-Banana Jam OIAJ
Peanut Butter OIAJ
Left: Blueberry Jam OIAJ
Right: PB Cup Cold Oats (PB, cocoa powder, honey, oats)
Pumpkin Seed Butter OIAJ