Granola has been an American staple since the late 19th century. Consisting of whole grains and/or oats, nuts, honey, dried fruit and other preserved foods, this hearty breakfast has maintained its popularity over the years as a popular breakfast food, snack, and addition to baked goods, yogurt, and desserts.
What is Granola?
Granola is a classic breakfast food commonly comprised of rolled oats, crushed nuts, and honey. Today, granola can be purchased in all sorts of forms, from gluten-free to low-sugar to super food-enriched.
The word granola was trademarked by the famous cereal maker John Harvey Kellogg, a doctor and nutritionist behind the invention of corn flakes. "Granula" was a similar recipe developed by James Caleb Jackson in 1863, subbing oats for graham flour. Today, companies all over have gone beyond Kellogg's original recipe, and created granolas to fit any craving.
What to Do With Granola
Eat granola plain out of a bag while hiking for sustained energy, or pour milk over a bowl of it at breakfast. Add granola to a yogurt parfait to give it a crunch, or mix with eggs and sugar to make a tasty energy bar. No matter how you like to eat granola, there are limitless options.
What Does Granola Taste Like?
Granola's flavor profile depends entirely on its ingredients. Dried berries will lend a fruity sweetness, toasted almonds add a salty-savory layer that enhances sweet components, and a touch of vanilla can deepen the flavor. Additional nuance can come from whichever accents are included, from dried coconut clusters to pumpkin seeds.
The texture should remain more or less consistent. Granola should provide a satisfying and varied crunch from a combination of small and large clusters.
Mix and match ingredients when you make granola — the flavor combinations are endless.
Where to Buy
Any grocery store and many farmers markets will have at least one type of granola, from expensive artisan versions to simple granola made from oats, honey, and nuts. Skip packaging, and buy granola in bulk from natural food stores to save on money.
Keep granola in an airtight jar or sealed bag in a cool, dry place. Finish homemade granola within two weeks, especially you've included dried fruit.
Nutrition and Benefits
The nutrients found in granola vary from brands and what you put into it. Blends with whole grains, chia seeds, coconut oil, and dried blueberries, for example, will have more antioxidant qualities than those made solely from oats, honey, and nuts. Some granola can be high in fat and calories, especially mixes that include cashews, almonds, or walnuts or extra sweeteners.
There's a huge variety of granola on the market today, not limited to gluten-free, paleo, vegan, kosher, low-fat, high-energy, and sugar-free. If your local market doesn't carry a variety that suits you, create your own signature mix with your favorite ingredients.