Oat groats are natural hulled oats that are relatively untreated. Although the outer hull is removed, the remaining oat remains exactly as it was during harvest. Since they remain in such a natural form, oat groats have the highest nutritional value among all types of oats. They are high in fiber, iron, zinc, selenium and vitamin E. Although their natural form allows for high nutritional value, it also requires longer cooking to soften them up for eating. But if you plan ahead and cook those oat groats in a slow cooker overnight, you’ll have a healthy pot of oatmeal waiting for you in the morning.
Combine four cups of water with one cup of oat groats in the slow cooker. If you want your oatmeal to be a bit creamier, you might also add 1/2 cup of milk or cream. Stir to combine.
Mix in any additional flavorings you desire. For example, you might add vanilla, cinnamon or brown sugar. If you wish to add fruit, use dried fruit in place of fresh fruit. Since the oats will be cooking for a long time, fresh fruit would become too soggy.
Set the slow cooker to low heat. Replace the cover and cook the oat groats on low heat for seven to eight hours.
Stir thoroughly before dishing out into individual serving bowls.
Sweeten the oat groats once they are finished cooking. At this point, you might add additional brown sugar, cinnamon, honey or maple syrup. You can also add nuts or fresh fruit, such as chopped apples, blueberries or cranberries.
When cooking oat groats on the stovetop, you generally use two parts water to one part oat groats. However, if you’ll be cooking them overnight in a slow cooker, you’ll want to add extra water to keep the oat groats from drying out.
As the oat groats cook overnight, they often stick to the sides of the slow cooker. Rubbing a small amount of olive oil around the bottom and sides of the slow cooker can prevent sticking, making cleanup easier in the morning.