Where do you buy ingredients for your Muesli?
January 25, 2011 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Where do you buy ingredients for your Muesli?

After living in Europe for close to a decade, I am addicted to Muesli. I searched for ready-made options but I find them rather expensive so I plan to make my own Muesli. I searched on me-fi and found already asked question here. I will be glad if folks can shed light where they buy there stuff from, if online or any other major retailer, so that I get some cost effective and trusted reviews.

BTW, if there is anyone who has been to Sweden reading this question, I was using Finax or Axa brand musli. So not looking for anything fancy, just basic musli/muesli.

Many thanks in advance.
posted by zaxour to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
IKEA sells museli for cheap.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 4:10 PM on January 25, 2011

I dunno what ready-made options you looked at - so forgive me if this isn't what you're looking for, but I've bought Bob's Red Mill brand Muesli in grocery stores here in Chicago. $15 for a case of 4 bags on that website link. I find it really tasty mixed with plain yogurt and a little honey.
posted by dnash at 5:41 PM on January 25, 2011

According to Wikipedia, Muesli contains "uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts". The original recipe is listed in the article, as well as photos of various blends as photographed by Wikipedia editors.

You can get rolled oats in any American supermarket - usually labeled "oatmeal". You should make sure not to get oatmeal with "steel cut" on the label, as that's a different preparation that doesn't use rolled oats. It also shouldn't have anything like "instant" or "quick cooking" on the label. You want the big cylindrical cardboard canister of traditional Quaker Oats.

As for the rest of the dry ingredients (I assume you're OK in terms of fresh fruit, milk/cream/juices, sugar, honey, etc), most health food stores sell that sort of thing. Larger stores will sell in bulk from huge bins, which is usually the most cost effective way to buy nuts and dried fruit. Regular supermarkets will also sell nuts and a limited selection of dried fruit, but it will be more heavily processed and maybe not what you're looking for (salted nuts, for instance).

The reason so much muesli is expensive in the US is that dried fruit and nuts tend to be expensive here. You should definitely do a cost benefit analysis to see if DIY is really saving you anything.
posted by Sara C. at 5:45 PM on January 25, 2011

Best answer: I'm going to make the assumption that we are using the terms muesli and granola interchangeably, at least as far as ingredients are concerned, because it is my understanding that the major difference is that granola is toasted and muesli is not.

I see a very large savings making my own granola and my own yogurt. I make Greek style yogurt by the gallon, so I have plenty of whey to use in my granola recipes. (Whey is the one ingredient that I have never seen for sale in any store.)

Because I am cooking for five people, to achieve maximum savings, I buy stuff in bulk, particularly organic rolled oats and yogurt cultures. I buy them 50# and 60 doses at a time, respectively, and doing this saves me nearly $100 on every 50# of oats and ~50c per dose of yogurt culture.

I buy roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, pecans, and walnuts, as well as raisins at a restaurant supply store called GFS. The sunflower seeds and raisins are $2/#, and the nuts cost $15 for a gigantic 5# bag that lasts us a year. I buy other nuts and dried fruit at Walgreens. Walgreens has good prices on nuts (2 twelve ounce cans for $6) and unbeatable prices on dried fruit. A box that is 4 ounces or more costs $1, and there is no food coloring, HFCS, added sugar, or BHT in any of the fruit that I have bought there. Dried fruit with identical ingredients, but with organic certification, in the bulk bins at our natural foods co-op, costs $8/#, or twice as much. When I go to Walgreen's, I spend $20-$40 and I usually get enough dried fruit, cashews, and almonds to last about six months.

None of these ingredients are exclusively used for granola baking. My kids snack on dried fruit and eat oatmeal for breakfast multiple times per week, and my baker husband regularly pillages my nut supply for various projects. So the amounts of stuff that I buy may not apply to you.

If you are just interested in making muesli to eat with yogurt or milk, you will need to add some fat and some sweet to it. This is surprisingly hard to screw up, and there are a lot of combinations that work. Maple syrup (the real stuff, not pancake syrup), orange juice concentrate, honey, and/or brown sugar, when combined with canola oil, butter, and/or peanut butter/oil all yield very good results. I put whey in there, too, since I have an abundance of it and that's how muesli/granola was originally made. I also use vanilla and/or almond extracts. We make our own vanilla extract, and buy honey and syrup from local beekeepers with a sugarbush, but the rest of this stuff is all standard supermarket fare, and none of it is very expensive.

If you want to make granola bars, just toast your oats and nuts (on cookie sheets, about 7 minutes at 350F), then add your fruit. Melt the sweet and fat together to make glue. Mix the glue into the toasted oats/nuts/fruit, and then, working quickly, press into a lasagna pan lined with parchment. In a cool room, it will take about an hour or so to harden. Once cut into bars, this makes a highly portable meal, and since the bar glue has more sugar in it than the fat/sweet mix for crumbly granola, the bars last a long time. They are great backpacking food.

I can make a double batch of granola bars for about $5, not including energy used to heat my oven. The very cheapest granola bars I can find are 25c each, so my very full lasagna pan that yields 100 bars is worth about $25 retail. And, of course, homemade bars have no HFCS or PHO, and taste much better.

The cheapest granola cereal I've found is $4 for a 12 ounce box. Because granola is a heavy, dense food, the volume is surprisingly small. I imagine an adult man would work through it in less than a week of breakfasts, and I've seen my big 12 year old stepson eat as much for a single breakfast. I make granola 4# at a time, and each batch costs me about $4.50.

Just an FYI: since most people like to eat muesli/granola with yogurt, it will probably be worth learning to make yogurt as well. Yogurt is far easier to make than granola, and homemade yogurt is even better than homemade granola, compared to their respective storebought counterparts.
posted by Leta at 7:01 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I buy ingredients for granola in the bulk section at Whole Foods. I only use rolled rye and barley, but they have rolled oats as well. Plus anything else you'd want: nuts, flaxseed, sesame seed, sunflower seed, dried fruit.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:54 PM on January 25, 2011

As mentioned by dnash, I love Bob Red Mills brand.
posted by shoesietart at 8:55 PM on January 25, 2011

Oh, and as far as quality, WF has pretty high turnover so everything is fairly fresh. Cost for all ingredients total ends up being about the same or slightly cheaper for store-bought granola, but I like a lot of nuts and fruit, which can be pricey. I think I pay 1.99 per pound for the grains. Bob's Red Mill is a little costlier, but they have a lot of rolled grains besides oats. I've used other Bob's products, and they are quite good.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:00 PM on January 25, 2011

You can get what you need at Costco. It will be inexpensive. As for Whole Foods, I love the store, but even the bulk is more expensive for pretty much the same thing as Costco.
posted by fifilaru at 9:16 PM on January 25, 2011

I buy oats by weight (super cheap) at a health food store, along with random grains like spelt flakes and rice flakes, and then a variety of nuts and dried fruit at Trader Joe's. I also add some freeze dried fruits like raspberries and peaches from that Just Tomatoes company. Every month or so I mix up a new batch and it's always a little different. (I miss muesli too, but while I can buy it in NYC, it always has nasty raisins, so I make my own to avoid them.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:14 AM on January 26, 2011

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