When I first heard the term ‘soaking’ grains, I pictured grains actually immersed in a liquid, but this is not necessarily the case. In this recipe, oatmeal is ‘soaked’ in a mixture of melted butter or coconut oil with some added whey or lemon juice. It’s pretty dry, actually. The acidity of the lemon juice (or whey) neutralizes phytates and enzyme inhibitors naturally contained in whole grains, allowing our bodies to better digest and assimilate the nutrients from the grains.

Sally Fallon explains it best: Phosphorus in the bran of whole grains is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking, and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestive process in our own kitchens. Many people who are allergic to grains will tolerate them well when they are prepared according to these procedures. Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, Pg 25

In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients and soak overnight or for about for 12 hours:

8 cups rolled oats

1 cup melted coconut oil or butter

1 cup rapadura or honey

3 tablespoons whey (you can substitute lemon juice or cider vinegar)

In the morning, add these ingredients:

1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons vanilla

2 cups dried flaked coconut

1 cup chopped almonds or pecans

Bake in 2 buttered 9 x 13 pans at 350 degrees, turning every 5 minutes until golden, or dehydrate until crispy.

It’s fun to play around with this recipe, adding different extracts and dried fruits to give this basic recipe a little variety. Try adding dried cherries or cranberries and extra vanilla for a cherry vanilla granola, or cherry almond with almond extract. Orange peel can add a nice flavor too.

This same grain-soaking method can be used to make a delicious fruit crisp…