Crunchy Granola (Not So) Suite: Overture

By , May 16, 2012

As I’ve mentioned previously, my in-laws are visiting us in Haines. Mom asked for my granola recipe, so, like any self-respecting denizen of the 21st century, I decided to copy the recipe from my blog onto an email, and deliver it that way.

I wrote a multi-part series on making granola for the blog, but I couldn’t find it here—I posted it on the other blog I wrote for, Self Reliance Works. Back then, I imagined that many readers of this blog would also read my work over there, so I tended to leave my more pedantic (i.e. “how to”) pieces over there, focusing on other issues here. Since then, I’ve discovered that very few readers visit that site, because I get asked “how to” questions here that I’ve already answered there.

So, it’s about time I tackled the pressing issue of breakfast cereals.

With apologies to Neil Diamond, I’ll be serializing (sorry) the granola posts here over the next few days. That should help hold the fort while I focus on the in-law visit and a contract that needs more of my attention.

I was raised on breakfast cereal, but I stopped believing that processed commercial products provided adequate nutrition about the same time I stopped looking for the prize in the box, so—what? At least since my late 30s . . . .

Ironically, granola, that iconic “hippie food,” is not cheap. In keeping with its higher nutritional value and popularity, real, high quality granola (as opposed to similar products that seek to hijack its cachet, then pad the whole food content with cheap fillers) is a bit out of our budget. For that reason, and to exert more control over the quality and flavor, I used to make my own granola. Why I’ve stopped will be addressed in coming posts.

For years I made granola that looks and crunches like the better commercially available products. Then I began working with a new recipe, with mixed but encouraging results.

Both of these cereals are highly nutritious, tasty, and versatile. Each family member eats them in his or her own way. Aly adds boiling water to make hot cereal. Michelle, who was allergic to milk as a child, sprinkles hers over homemade yogurt. I used to pour milk on it, but I’ve switched to the homemade yogurt as well. Or, when it’s in season, we’ll use stewed rhubarb.

For clarity, we refer to the old recipe as granola, and the new one as muesli, which it closely resembles.

The granola is hearty, crunchy, and convenient to eat by the handful. I forget where I got the original recipe, but I’ve altered it considerably, mostly by cutting down on the amount of sugars. I found the original recipe far too sweet for my taste, so I continually adjust the sweeteners downward. I used to worry this might lessen the cereal’s ability to hold together, but since I’ve worked with the muesli recipe, I see that I can cut way back without adverse affects.

The muesli isn’t convenient to eat by the handful, so it loses its usefulness as a trail snack. Its main advantage over the granola is its cost: with far fewer ingredients, it costs less, and requires fewer steps to make.

It’s very likely that I will eventually synthesize the two recipes, taking the best qualities of each.

In future posts, I’ll share each of these recipes with you, and explore the changes I’ve made to them.

2 Responses to “Crunchy Granola (Not So) Suite: Overture”

  1. Russ says:

    Hi Mark,
    I like the idea of home-made granola… Where can I buy some 🙂
    Also like how the blog site inserts an ad for Quaker Oatmeal Squares right after the sentence where you deride prepackaged stuff full of fillers.
    Russ

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Russ,

    I’d be tempted to sell the stuff myself, but can you imagine our kitchen ever meeting the commercial food preparation standards?

    I knew those keyword generated ads were going to cause trouble eventually. I guess it adds a bit of comedy to the blog, and that can only be a good thing.

    Speaking of homemade goodies, I’ll be dropping by your growler, filled with homemade root beer later today!

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