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5 Ways to Mix Up Trail Mix

April 25, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Minneapolis/St. Paul 0 Comments

5 Ways to Mix Up Trail Mix

Many people love trail mix because it is a handy snack full of variety and sometimes surprise.  Indeed, Trail mix appears to have been around for quite some time, but it was only in the 1950s that the blend used most often by hikers for quick energy got the name by which we know it today. 

Prior to that time, people from across the globe, including New Zealand and Australia simply threw whatever nuts and dried fruits (usually raisins or prunes, which were commonly dried prior to the time of the official naming) were available into a bag and took it with them when traveling, mostly on horseback.  There is even evidence that the Cowboys of the old west may have made such blends to munch on (no, they weren’t all addicted to jerky).

Today, literally scores of trail mix blends can be purchased at the local grocery store and many people buy their own bulk ingredients to make custom combinations of trail mix. Students in culinary arts schools have the opportunity to create their own varieties.  Minnesota culinary schools have the benefit of being able to use locally grown ingredients.

What makes a good trail mix?

The object of these mixes is to provide and encourage the right blend of proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fat, each of which provides certain advantages to the energy-stricken body.  You can mix your own, but remember that nuts contain the proteins, dried fruits and veggies provide the carbohydrates, and certain candies, especially those containing chocolate, contain the fat content.  Some fats can be found in certain nuts as well, along with meats that are something of a more recent addition.

Here are  some suggestions for making a delicious, yet nutritious trail mix.

  1. Nutty Delight – For nut lovers, nothing goes better than a mix of almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts, with dried bananas, figs, and sun dried Tomatoes.  Finally, add some granola.  Yummy.
  2. Rapid Energy – Chocolate is well-known to provide a quick burst of energy, but does not work well if using the trail mix actually on the trail (it tends to melt).  Here is a nifty spin.  Start with your favorite nuts, add dried cherries and raisins, and then a bag of M & Ms.
  3. Simple, get a jar of mixed nuts, add some chex mix, pretzel sticks, combos, and beef sausage bites.  If you would like to add some fruit, dried apples, figs, and raisins go well in this blend.
  4. PTA – For moms looking to serve a good trail mix for the monthly meeting with the PTA, this mix is sure to please.  Start with Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachio’s.  Add dried bananas, apricots, and cranberries, then granola.  Finally, include some mini chocolate or strawberry twists.  Sure to delight and impress.
  5. Surprise – This is probably how trail mix began.  Simply take whatever nuts, small snack chips, dried fruits, chewable candies, and other odd assortments of finger snacks you can find in your cupboard and just throw it all together.  Part of the fun in making trail mix is the discovery of new flavors, created by eating two or more foods together that otherwise would have never met. 

Remember, trail mix does not have to fit to any standards or norms.  Good trail mix comes from the heart.  It is a creative endeavor, not a hard and fast recipe.  Try it at home and if you want to expand your horizons and explore other food creations, check out culinary arts school

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Minneapolis-St-Paul for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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