Crunch On This: The Story Behind Granola

Crunch On This: The Story Behind Granola
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While some say granola dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks, it wasn't on the public's radar until the 19th century. Thanks to health advocate, Dr. James Caleb Jackson, granola started its journey in 1863, during the Civil War, in Jackson's upstate New York sanitarium. However, it didn't always start off glazed in maple-deliciousness, or combined with dried fruits and nuts. In fact, the original recipe started with baking graham flour into brittle cakes (which, truthfully, couldn't be served without a little milk to seal the deal).

So, how did this tasty treat and first-ever cold cereal become so popular? Dr. Jackson encountered some competition when Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a doctor with his own sanitarium based in Michigan, began experimenting with batches of his own. Both doctors had one thing in common: they were digestive evangelists, seeking out new ways to create cold cereals. However, it was Kellogg who ultimately won the race, delivering a product to shelves that would soon become a public favorite.

Ultimately, granola spread like wildfire during the hippie movement of the 1960s. There was a new desire to search for healthier alternatives to sugary cereals and become more health-conscious. In 1972, the first mass-market granola, Heartland Natural Cereal, hit the shelves. From there, the land of healthy crunch became a gold mine.

To learn more about how granola came to be and find a few of our favorite granola recipes, Check out the slideshow above!

For more stories behind our favorite foods, check out:

The Story Behind General Tso's Chicken
Oh My Darling Clementine
Granny Smith: Did She Really Exist?