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12 Interesting Facts About Muesli

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Muesli is a popular breakfast cereal made from rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit and seeds. It first became popular in Switzerland in the early 1900s as a health food. The term “muesli” is derived from the Swiss German word “mues” meaning “puree” or “mixture”.

Over the years, muesli has become popular worldwide as a tasty and nutritious breakfast option. Here are 12 fascinating facts about this wholesome cereal:

Muesli by ManuQC is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .

1. A Swiss physician created Muesli

The earliest version of muesli was developed around 1900 by a Swiss physician named Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. He called it “Birchermüesli” after his last name.

Dr. Bircher-Benner believed in the healing power of raw fruits and vegetables. He created muesli as a healthy, wholefood breakfast option high in fiber and nutrients.

2. The original muesli recipe was very different

Dr. Bircher-Benner’s original muesli recipe was quite different from modern muesli. It consisted of rolled oats soaked overnight with lemon juice, condensed milk, and fresh apple.

This was more like an oat-based congee or porridge. Nuts, seeds or dried fruit were not part of the initial recipe.

3. The Swiss Alpine Milkmaid inspired the soaked oats

The inspiration for soaking the oats came from a traditional Swiss dish called Alpine Milkmaid’s Oatmeal. In this dish, oat flakes are left to soak overnight in milk before being mixed with fruit pulp and cream.

Dr. Bircher-Benner modified this recipe by using lemon juice and apple to make it lighter.

4. Muesli only gained popularity decades later

Although muesli was created in 1900, it remained largely unknown outside Switzerland for over 50 years.

It was only in the late 1960s that muesli became popular in Germany and other European countries as a healthy breakfast. This was partly influenced by the rising popularity of Swiss health spas and sanatoriums at that time.

5. Swiss companies led the early muesli market

The first commercial muesli products were introduced by Swiss companies like Bircher-Benner and Hipp. These were packaged as loose cereal mixes consisting mainly of oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.

By the 1970s, muesli started gaining more mainstream popularity across Europe with several brands coming up in Germany, France and UK.

6. Modern muesli has many more ingredients

While traditional muesli contains just oats, fruits, seeds, and nuts, modern packaged muesli can have over 20 ingredients!

These include grains like wheat flakes, corn flakes, rice flakes or quinoa flakes along with various nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, honey, spices, and even chocolate chips.

7. The exact origin of the word “muesli” is unclear

There are several theories about the etymology of the word “muesli”. The most common belief is that it comes from the Swiss German dialects, where “mues” means “puree” or “mixture”.

However, the word could also be derived from the French “mûre” (ripe) or “moudre” (to mill), or the Latin “miscellus” (mixed).

8. Muesli is rich in nutrients and fiber

A bowl of muesli gives you a lot of bang for your nutrition buck! Muesli is packed with:

  • Fiber from oats, fruits and seeds
  • Protein from nuts, oats and seeds
  • Essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6
  • Vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, folic acid and B vitamins

It provides sustained energy and keeps you full for longer periods. No wonder it’s called a complete meal in a bowl!

9. Muesli has many variations

From crunchy Swiss-style mueslis to toasted British granola – there are countless regional and local variations of muesli across the globe.

Some popular varieties are:

  • Birchermuesli – Swiss style soaked oats muesli
  • Alpen Muesli – loaded with dried fruit and nuts
  • Granola – toasted and crunchy muesli from UK/US
  • Cluster muesli – contains grain clusters and flakes

10. Cold vs hot – muesli goes both ways!

While muesli is typically served cold with milk or yogurt, it can also be served hot.

Porridge-style hot mueslis are popular in Switzerland and Germany, especially during winters. Rolled oats are soaked overnight and then simmered with milk and fruit compotes.

Hot muesli is wonderfully comforting and great for cold weather!

11. Muesli inspired many similar cereals

The huge success of muesli in Europe led to the creation of many derivative breakfast cereals in the 20th century like:

  • Granola – a toasted, crunchy version from US/Canada
  • Muslix – a high-protein sports cereal from UK
  • Corn flakes – made by toasting corn kernels

So in a way, muesli can be credited for kickstarting the entire breakfast cereal industry!

12. It’s not just for breakfast anymore

Initially conceived strictly as a wholesome breakfast, muesli has now gone mainstream.

It is used in innovative recipes like:

  • Muesli yogurt parfaits
  • Fruit and nut trail mixes
  • Gluten-free baking
  • Crusted chicken and fish
  • Salad toppings
  • Energy bars

From a breakfast staple to a versatile ingredient – muesli continues to find new takers and uses!

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