Why You Should Really Avoid Adding Berries To Overnight Oats

For people with hectic schedules, preparing overnight oats is a convenient way of ensuring that they have something tasty, filling, and nutritious to eat in the morning. It's also easy to make a big enough batch of it that can be partitioned for the next few days to save time and energy. While you can certainly add your choice of oats, sweeteners, fruits, and dairy (or non-dairy alternative) to customize this breakfast, one thing you shouldn't add to overnight oats is berries — at least, while you're preparing it to leave in the fridge overnight. 

This is one of the common mistakes people make when making this breakfast dish. Given how thin their peels are, soaking berries overnight in liquid will break down their delicate barriers and turn their flesh into pieces of mush. Although this won't affect the flavor of your overnight oats, it can add an off-putting texture to it. If you've soaked mixed berries, their colors could also run together, adding an unappealingly muddled hue to your breakfast. The best way to incorporate berries is to mix them in just before serving or eating your overnight oats. Make sure to wash them properly by placing them in a colander and under cool, running water. Dry the berries gently with a paper towel then top your cup of overnight oats with them. Do these in the morning since washing the berries at night and then placing them in the fridge make them vulnerable to mold.

Mix in dried fruits instead when making overnight oats

There are other fruits that hold up better when soaked in liquid overnight. Apple slices and the starchy banana, for example, can withstand sitting in milk and oats in the fridge for hours. But if you want to infuse your overnight oats with the fruity tang and sweetness of berries, mix in dried ones as you prepare your oats for overnight soaking. Dried fruits and desiccated coconut chips maintain their chewiness despite getting plumped up and softened by all that liquid. They will keep your overnight oats from feeling like mouthfuls of mush.

Other ingredients that you might also be adding too soon are nuts and seeds. Although they're much hardier than fruits, nuts can lose some of their bite when soaked overnight. To retain their maximum crunch that will contrast well against the softer texture of the oats, add them in the morning, too. Among seeds, chia seeds are best mixed in the night before so they develop that creamy, jelly-like texture that makes overnight oats feel richer. The rest, however, work better when used as toppings, especially when they've been toasted since this further brings out their nuttiness and crunch. Before having your breakfast, don't forget to stir everything — oats, toppings, and all. This ensures that the flavors and textures of your ingredients are properly distributed so every bite is as delicious as you planned it to be.