In my mind, summertime is prime museli time. It's a cool breakfast that gives me loads of energy without feeling sluggish or overly full. And it's so simple to throw together at home. Some folks treat it much like cereal or granola, adding a splash of milk or a dollop of yogurt right before serving. Others soak it overnight. There are, indeed, benefits to both. So first, and I'd argue most importantly, there's the issue of taste. Either you like soaked muesli or not. If you don't, it's going to be hard to argue the nutritional benefits either way; you'll likely serve it as you would a typical dry cereal and that's just fine. But before I lose you on the soaking train, there are some wonderful ways to sort of trick yourself into liking soaked muesli. How about mixing in your favorite jam or using a yogurt that you really love as a base to soak the grains? Or think of it more as a vehicle for your favorite fresh fruits or toasted nuts?
Now onto the nutritional reasons why you may want to consider soaking your museli: it's long been argued that it's easier to digest and your body will absorb more of the vitamins and minerals. Not to get too terribly textbook on a Monday morning, but in their outermost layer, all grains contain a substance called phytic acid and if left unfermented (unsoaked), it can comingle with a bunch of good nutrients (calcium, for instance) in your body to block absorption. All that work to eat well and you find out that some of that effort may be going down the drain.
So where do you fall? I happen to believe all the nutritional studies on soaking grains, so I do soak my muesli for that reason, but I also love the cool, easy texture in the dog days of summer. If you have yet to make muesli at home, there's no oven involved and it's often as easy as rolled oats and a few nuts and ... Go!
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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