Backcountry, overnight oatmeal (Midnight Oatmeal)

Frankly, the instant slop that comes out of paper packets is garbage. Flat, tasteless, texture-less and drowned in sugar and preservatives, it lacks the very essence that is oatmeal. Oatmeal should be three dimensional, exciting, tasty, and filling. This is how you can make that happen, easily, in the back-country.

First things first, you’re going to need some steel-cut oats. Not the instant, “quick” or three minute stuff. That’s not going to cut it. The difference here is that steel-cut oats are oats that are simply diced into two or three pieces and tossed into a box without being manipulated or processed into oblivion. The instant variants are usually boiled, pressed, or otherwise processed, which makes them lifeless, soulless, and faster to cook, which is why they do it (convenience). Most people these days seem to have never had true, steel-cut oats, and that’s a shame. This is real oatmeal, and the only way that it can be truly appreciated. Sometimes you’ll see steel-cut oats called coarse oats, or pinhead oats.

Backcountry Oatmeal (midnight oatmeal)

Now, the downfall here is that these traditional cut oats take much longer to cook, usually about a half hour. Thankfully, this recipe takes care of that problem. By leaving the oats overnight, they’ll slow cook without the fuss or waste of boiling them for twenty minutes. They’ll cook while you sleep, and after a quick reheat, they’ll be ready to go in the morning for a hot, nutritious breakfast.

Backcountry Oatmeal (midnight oatmeal)

 

Mike’s Midnight oatmeal

This is my personal recipe. A traditional steel-cut oatmeal with a hint of cocoa and a sprinkle of almonds, creating a soft, energizing hot-cocoa like flavor. Excellent for cold mornings.

For one serving:

1/4 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup of water

1 cup powdered milk

One tablespoon brown sugar

One teaspoon cocoa

One pinch of salt

A dash of Butter Buds or a pat of real butter (it keeps for days without refrigeration)

A sprinkle of sliced almonds

Bring the water to boil. While the water is heating, combine the other dry ingredients except the almonds. Pour the water into the dry ingredients and mix. Now, seal the oatmeal and allow it to sit overnight (about 12 hours is perfect). Stir and reheat in the morning, bringing it to a boil for 2-5 minutes if it’s especially thin, stirring to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Allowing it to sit after for 5-15 minutes to cool  and allow the oats to absorb the water and to thicken. Toss on some sliced almonds and you’re ready to eat. The oats should be somewhat chewy and full of texture. In most cooler conditions the oatmeal will be quite runny in the morning before boiling them. Warmer climates may not require boiling at all  to achieve a desired thickness and texture.

When leaving your oatmeal overnight, try hanging it in a tree, or bury it under some rocks so that it’s away from animals. Good containers to use are the MSR Stowaway pots, Nalgene containers, or other seal-able containers. You can can also store your dry ingredients in a sturdy freezer bag, and add the boiling water to that for storing it overnight inside your cook pot for protection. Just transfer it back to your cooking cup before heating in the morning.

Adjust sugar and salt to suit your taste.

Backcountry Oatmeal (midnight oatmeal)

 

Strawberry Banana Cream

A sweet, uplifting combination of flavors that’s sure to satiate the fruit lovers around camp.

1/4 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup of water

1 cup powdered milk

One tablespoon white sugar

Dried bananas and strawberries to taste

One pinch of salt

A dash of Butter Buds or a pat of real butter (it stays for days while backpacking)

Chocolate Chip Cookie

1/4 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup of water

1/2 cup powdered milk

One tablespoon brown sugar

One teaspoon cocoa

One pinch of salt

A dash of Butter Buds or a pat of real butter (it stays for days while backpacking)

A sprinkle of semi-sweet chocolate chips

A sprinkle of chopped walnut (optional)

A dash of vanilla

 

So, give these a try and let me know what you think. You can always adjust to fit your taste or style, and it’s very easy to get creative.

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5 thoughts on “Backcountry, overnight oatmeal (Midnight Oatmeal)

  1. I am not a big fan of instant Oatmeal, I have had steel cut oats and they are much better tasting and a lot more nutritious . Thanks for the recipes . I do believe I shall give them a try. Never thought of the over night in water to soften the oats. Good job Michael .

  2. What a great post and recipe! I’m always looking for new foods to take with me when trekking into the backcountry and this one definitely makes the list. In fact, this one may become a staple even at the house.

    Great post!

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