Make-ahead muesli for the preposterously lazy.
September 6, 2018 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I would like to consume fruity muesli on a semi-regular basis. I would like to put minimal labor into it. Please tell me exactly how to do this in the way that involves the absolute least amount of effort from me but also has a good end product.

We got muesli from Corner Bakery this morning at work and I loved it. I would like to recreate this experience of eating this food that I like at home.

This is the blurb about the food:
Chilled Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal
Our chilled European muesli made with low-fat vanilla yogurt, skim milk, rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants and dried cranberries.
Served with fresh berries, toasted almonds, and raisin pecan sweet crisps. [idgaf about the crisps]

What I would like to do is make as much of this as I possibly can, to the farthest step possible, and freeze it into portions to eat at a later time. The less I have to do on the back end the better. You would think I could google this easily but for some reason I'm just bringing up a bunch of vegan granola bar recipes that freeze well, which is not what I want. Since I don't have a lot of experience freezing things like this (generally only things meant to be eaten frozen or meant to be reheated) I don't know best practices or how to optimize it.

-Do I just make a huge batch to the last step following a dupe recipe and then freeze it?
-Do I chop everything up and freeze it separately and combine only to thaw?
-Do I have to save steps for day-of-consumption and, god forbid, perform labor at some point in the future?

Things I don't want to do:

-cut fruit more than one time
-remember to buy ingredients at some future date on the chance I want to eat muesli the next day
-wash a bunch of dishes
-spend more than 3 minutes in service of feeding myself muesli at some future date
-waste food
(note: I am the kind of person who if I need 6 blueberries for something and have to buy a whole pint of blueberries, I will probably never eat the remaining blueberries, or eat the rest of the yogurt, or finish the bag of almonds, etc, so making lots at a time for later and then never buying those things again is best for me)
posted by phunniemee to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Yum. Personally, I think separating this out into three basic elements is the way to go:

- fresh mixed cut-up fruit (you could freeze these into individual servings)
- yogurt
- the muesli part, mixed ahead of time and put in a jar in your pantry or whatever (I like the general guide from The Hairpin)

That way, your muesli stuff is going to stay crisp/crunchy. Soggy nuts are kind of gross. Make the fruit containers big enough so that they are what you eat out of. Fruit bowl, dollop the yogurt on that, throw the muesli in. Mix. Chow down.

I am still on the fence about freezing the fruit part. If you're like me, it's going to be a hassle to remember the night before to put a serving in the fridge to thaw for the next morning. A week's worth of cut-up fruit in individual containers should be okay without freezing, I think.
posted by queensissy at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2018

Response by poster: Oh, so, to help guide answers. This particular application from Corner Bakery that I'm after is, like, on purpose soggy and almost soupy. So I'm pretty sure it's overnight oats.

Also I'm not going to eat this every day. I only eat breakfast at home on the weekends, so consumption is spread out over time. I can't have fruit withering away in my fridge.
posted by phunniemee at 9:51 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

That is so delicious! I've found that overnight oats are pretty close to what you want. (This is just a sample link, not endorsement of any of the recipes or anything). I have never tried freezing it, but it might be doable? I minimize effort by putting together the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, maybe chia or flax if I have them around, any spices I want, dried fruits, etc) in 5 jars, one for every day of the week. Then, the night before, I top one off with milk and whatever fresh fruit I want in there, stick it in the fridge, and it's ready for the next morning.

If you specifically want apples and bananas, that might be a little more challenging. Apples might work if they're fully submerged when you put the milk in. Bananas... I would probably add fresh.
posted by Fig at 9:54 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Freezing bananas and apples make them mushy (I am assuming you mean fresh bananas and apples not dried). Also bananas that have been sliced turn brown and soft over a few hours or so, so I don't know how you'd be able to get around the cutting fruit for just that portion part, if you want crisp apples and firm bananas. If you were to be ok with dried apples and bananas that would be much more do-able fwiw.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 9:54 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think queensissy's 3-part method is the way to go. You can freeze banana slices (on a tray with parchment/wax paper), then peel them off and toss them in a ziplock. I was going to say that the apples will be problematic for freezing, but if you like them mushy, it might just work. Give freezing the apples a test drive and see how the texture works out. So assuming the apple freezing works, make up a batch of frozen fruit and add some to the yogurt (+milk?) and pre-made muesli and let it sit overnight.

If the frozen apple texture doesn't work out, I'd just use frozen bananas and frozen berries and call it done.
posted by sarajane at 10:06 AM on September 6, 2018

You can peel, slice, and freeze bananas and they're fine, I assume they would also be fine frozen in yogurt and/or overnight oats. You can buy canned apples and mix those in if that texture is appealing. I would keep some oats and almond slices dry, in the cupboard, to add at serving.
posted by momus_window at 10:07 AM on September 6, 2018

I would keep dry ingredients separate from wet ingredients, and yogurt/milk separate from those. So:

Mix dry ingredients and store in bag or tupperware or whatever. This is rolled oats (use instant if you want to mix and eat right away, use traditional if you want it to soak for a couple hours), dried fruit (cranberries and currants are what you have listed, but cherries or whatever would be good too), and slivered or sliced almonds or other nuts. You can also put dried coconut in here if you like it.

Buy frozen fruit - this is way easier than using fresh, because it won’t stick together. I’d just buy a bag of frozen blueberries and call it good, especially because they thaw quickly.

Do you usually have milk (nondairy is fine), yogurt, or kefir in the fridge? If not, buy some individual shelf stable (aseptic) milk - I’ve seen dairy, almond, and soy at local stores, anything is fine. Individual yogurts also keep a really really long time in the fridge. You don’t need to have both yogurt and milk if you’re not too particular about consistency.

When you want muesli, just mix everything together. You can microwave the berries in a bowl then add the yogurt/milk and dry mix, or you can just combine everything and eat it with semi frozen blueberries. I’ve eaten this many times and I like to combine the still-frozen blueberries with everything then leave on the counter for an hour or so for the blueberries to start defrosting and the oats to soften, but if you use instant oats you don’t actually need to do it.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:23 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, proportions for this kind of recipe are super flexible, so if you don’t want to waste anything just dump the whole packages of everything into your dry mix - a whole container of oats, a whole container of dried cranberries, a whole container of sliced almonds, etc. Or Whole Foods and natural foods stores usually have bulk bins so you can get exactly the amount of everything you want.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:24 AM on September 6, 2018

Response by poster: If you're interested this is a picture I took of what I ate this morning as soon as I realized it was delicious. Behold.
posted by phunniemee at 10:26 AM on September 6, 2018

If it's soggy and soupy and European, it's probably Bircher Muesli, the original Swiss style of muesli rather than the crispier American version. In that case, the oats traditionally soak overnight and apple is a core component, but is typically grated or otherwise so fine you don't get chunks.

In that case, to maximize your efficiency/storage goals at the possible expense of perfect cooking, I'd mix the yogurt, milk, shredded apple and banana pieces (I'd consider omitting the banana, or at least trying a jar with and a jar without) and freeze that in the bottom of jars. Once that has frozen, then add in uncooked oats, and on top of that frozen berries, as well as the dried fruit and nuts. That should keep in the freezer for a reasonable amount of time.

The night before, I'd then take the jar and put it in the fridge (probably the top of the door, which is the warmest spot) or on the counter -- your mileage will depend on how long you sleep, how warm your place is, how concerned you are about food safety. If that leaves it frozen in the morning, you can put it out on the counter for a few hours before you go to bed (or put it in the fridge a full day ahead).

If the oats are dry and suck up all the moisture, you could mix them with milk or apple juice before chucking them on the frozen yogurt layer.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:30 AM on September 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

« Older Mailbox Script and Scripture   |   How to Avoid (Mentally) Fleeing the Interview Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.