I've just discovered the bircher. It's an uncooked mix of rolled oats, fruit and nuts. Very simple. Very healthy. And actually pretty delicious. But for some reason, the bircher is not a massive thing amongst people I know. Hmmm.
Let's start with the word bircher. What's not to like? It's so quaint and cheery and natural-sounding. It's like a tiny, adorable breakfast tree.
Then there's the process. No cooking, barely any utensils needed, and it keeps well? Yes. Check.
So I Wikipedia'd the bircher to understand where this hot new trend is coming from. Turns out, I am severely behind the times. Back in the early 1900's, a Swiss nutritionist named Maximillian Bircher-Benner was advocating a diet of raw fruits, veggies and nuts to help patients at his Zurich sanatorium. This was a massive new concept at the time, colliding with commonly held beliefs that food had to be cooked, and that meat and bread should be the basis of good nutrition.
He went on to invent muesli, which is now known as that less-sexy cousin of granola without the honey and oil. But his creation differed from what we see on store shelves - it was a mixture of oats and liquid, soaked but not cooked, with fruits and nuts added just before serving.
Bircher-muesli has come barreling back into fashion - it's raw (how trendy!), low GI (yay for stable insulin levels!) and incredibly, awesomely easy.
My take has strawberries, coconut, pecans and almonds as flavorings. Try and toast the nuts and coconut first - it really adds to the flavor. 5-10 minutes in a toaster oven at 400F / 200C will do it. There are a million other variations to play with. I've listed a few to try, after the jump.
Crunchy Strawberry Coconut Bircher
Yield: Serves 1. 1 part rolled oats to 2 parts water per serving.
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 15 min Total Time: 20 min
2 Tbs rolled oats
4 Tbs water
1 tsp toasted coconut flakes
2 tsp flaked almonds, toasted
3 pecans, chopped coarsely
a drizzle of honey or agave
In a bowl, soak rolled oats and water for 15 minutes or so. Mash strawberries with a fork. Add strawberries and their juices, nuts and a bit of honey to taste. That's it!
Keeps well in a jar for a day or so - great for on-the-go work breakfasts and late afternoon snacks.
Blueberries, a drop of vanilla extract, and macadamia nuts
Apples, cinnamon, maple syrup and walnuts
Apricots, dried cherries, and pistachios
Flax seeds, raspberries, blackberries and almonds
Chia seeds, blueberries and cherries