If you took a peek into our deep freezer in October, you would see it overflowing with preserved food from the growing season. We do a lot of canning and dehydrating, too, but freezing is a wonderful option for a lot of foods that maybe won’t make it through the tougher canning process.
And just as full as our freezer is in October, by the time March runs around, it’s pretty much an empty cave. We’ve worked through all the harvests of the previous year, and it’s ready to be defrosted, cleaned out, and filled up again (starting first with strawberries in May). When it comes to fruit, we always make sure to pop some in the freezer for easy smoothies and breakfasts. We’re finally working on our last bag of frozen peaches that we pick yearly from a local sustainable orchard. Having frozen peaches (and blueberries and strawberries and black raspberries) has been such a wonderful gift during the cold winter months, because it means I can do things like make fruity oatmeal even when fruit isn’t in season.
If you would have asked me last week if it was still oatmeal season, I would have pointed down to my shorts and flip-flops and told you I was putting away my oatmeal spoon until Fall. But alas, Spring in Indiana is a fickle, fickle lady, and I’m back into my sweaters and wool socks today. So, oatmeal season is still holding on!
Oatmeal and I have a complicated relationship. I love the way it tastes, but I almost always feel hungry an hour of eating it. Making a bowl of oatmeal that keeps be satiated requires a balance of fat, protein, and whole grain carbs (the oats have that covered). So often, bowls of oatmeal are just carb—and, honestly, sugar—bombs, but I really try to make sure to cover all my nutrient bases in my bowl.
This bowl of oats gets a good chunk of healthy fat and plant-based protein from ground flaxseeds, toasted walnuts, and almond milk or coconut milk. You can use whatever milk makes you, and your gut happy—cow’s, goat’s, soy, rice, hemp, whatever! You can even use all or part water if you’re trying to make this a lighter breakfast, although, it won’t be nearly as creamy and delicious.
A word on flaxseeds: make sure you grind them! Whole flaxseeds have a nearly impenetrable coating on them that isn’t fazed at all by stomach acid. Meaning they go through your digestive system whole without giving you any of their awesome benefits. You can buy pre-ground flaxseed at most supermarkets (check in the refrigerated health food section—that’s where it should be, ground flax should always be stored in the fridge or freezer, because it goes rancid quickly at room temperature). Or, do what I do, and buy a whole mess of whole flaxseeds from the bulk bins, and grind as you need them in a clean coffee grinder (I got mine for a whopping $15).