Harvest of the Month: January

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On a cold, gray day, what is better than waking up to a warm bowl of oatmeal, or baking fresh, warm bread for dinner? As we ring in the new year, we celebrate whole grains as January’s Harvest of the Month.

By definition, whole grains contain all the parts of the grain seed, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran contains fiber, the germ is the nutrient-dense part of the seed that will sprout if planted, and the endosperm is the starchy part, to give the seedling energy. Rolled oats, popped corn, and ground wheat flour are all lightly processed, but still contain this rich balance of nutrients that comes from eating the whole grain seed.

There are so many options for incorporating whole grains into your diet! Mix cooked quinoa or wheat berries with roasted veggies, arugula, and your favorite dressing for a quick lunch. Turn leftover brown rice into rice pudding to enjoy as an after-dinner treat. My absolute favorite whole grain dish this January is overnight oats. Mix them up before bed, warm them in the morning, and add your favorite toppings.

Overnight Oats
Recipe by Gabrielle Chronister

½ cup rolled oats
½ cup milk of of choice (dairy, almond, coconut, soy)
½ a banana, mashed
⅛ tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a coffee mug or 8-ounce Mason jar, and mix with a spoon until everything is combined. Cover with a lid, and place in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to eat, give it one last stir, and top with your favorite fixings.

Add-ins/toppings: cinnamon, fresh fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, dried goji berries, dollop of nut butter or yogurt, lemon zest, plain cooked quinoa for some extra protein and fiber.

Emily Armstrong is education director at Island Grown Initiative.