Posted on : April 29th, 2019
Could muesli be making a comeback? I hope so! I was introduced to this unusual nutritious and delicious breakfast treat many many years ago and then stopped seeing it in the store. It was seen as a “hippie” thing, I guess, and went out of vogue. Or maybe, because Americans love everything sweet, it just got replaced on the shelves with numerous versions of tasty but way too sweet granola. Want to believe you’re eating something healthy that really jacks up your blood sugar and wreaks havoc for your dietary health in so many other ways? Yeah, that’s your typical American breakfast cereal, especially if you choose honey-sweetened granola! (Which I admit to loving.)
But recently I saw muesli again on the grocery shelf and brought some home for a little nostalgic delight. It took me right back to the days when I was thinner, healthier and actually thought this unsweetened cereal was good enough to make for dessert! It DOES usually feature dried fruit and is almost always served with a variety of fresh sliced fruit. And unless you’ve gotten in the habit of added sweetener (who hasn’t?), it’s actually sweet enough. (Too sweet if you’re diabetic — leave the dried fruit out.) But in reality, muesli was invented as a healthy appetizer for dinner intended for people in a hospital.
Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner is credited with inventing muesli in 1900. He cured himself of jaundice using raw apples, started experimenting with other raw foods, and became a firm believer in the health value of raw fruits and vegetables. He even advocated that people eat most, if not all, of their food raw if possible. But this was not a widely acceptable or easy to maintain diet plan even though raw fruits and vegetables are important to include in your diet! I find this especially true in the summer months when I want nothing more than to cool down.
Enter a few days of 90º+ weather in Chico last week and muesli regained a place at my table! And I loved it! Muesli is a wonderful combination of raw rolled whole grains, dried fruit, seeds, and nuts. Most people let it soak overnight in milk, almond milk, or yogurt. That softens the grain and eliminates the desire to cook it. But I rarely bother. I just mix it up with yogurt and maybe a little milk and let it sit while I slice up some fresh fruit to add on top, and make myself a pot of tea or cup of coffee.
Muesli is crazily simple to make—there’s no recipe! And no need for one. Just follow this simple formula:
After that, the sky’s the limit! Play around. You can use just one rolled grain (oats are probably most popular) or create a mix. I’ve enjoyed it with barley, spelt and kamut flakes. The most important thing is that the grains are rolled, not quick-cooked. Almonds are delicious in this but you could use a mix of unsalted nuts. Popular seed choices are sunflower, pumpkin, chia or flax. Popular dried fruits are raisins or dates but use any kind you like. Consider dried coconut and mango for a tropical treat —yum! Add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg if you like. You could even include cornflakes or puffed rice cereal to the mix for added texture and variety.
Make a large batch of the dry ingredients, mix it up well, and store in a jar with a lid so it’s easy to make some to eat whenever you like. A normal serving would be about 1/4 cup or a bit more. Add the amount of yogurt, milk or combination you prefer. Let it sit at least 10 minutes (if not overnight). Then slice whatever fresh fruit you desire on top. I love blueberries and strawberries, maybe some bananas. Bircher-Benner preferred grated apples (and that is good). But use whatever you like. Keep in mind that the more fruit you use (fresh and dried), the sweeter it will be. If you don’t find it sweet enough, you can add a little honey. And it wouldn’t be outrageous to add a touch of almond butter if you prefer.
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