This takes some serious Grape Nuts

Presenting America’s most inexplicably-named breakfast cereal:

All the world’s Grape Nuts come from a dirty-white, six-story concrete building with steam rising out of the roof … in the San Joaquin Valley. The valley grows lots of grapes and lots of nuts, so the factory’s location would make sense, if Grape Nuts contained any local ingredients. Which it doesn’t.

So what’s in the stuff, anyway?

The Grape Nuts ingredients stood in silos outside: wheat (red and white) and barley, wet and malting. Maltose is the only sugar in Grape Nuts. Mr. [C. W.] Post may have called it grape sugar, or thought Grape Nuts looked like grape seeds, or that grape seeds looked like nuts, or that malted barley tasted nutty. Nobody seems to know.

The grain was tipping into mills that ground it into flour. Until five years ago, the mills spat out the husks for cattle feed. Now they stay in, so Grape Nuts can sell as “whole grain.” That is one change in Mr. Post’s formula. Another is a spray of vitamins and minerals. It qualifies Grape Nuts for food-stamp programs, and adds an element — zinc — that enables Dana Johnson, in Arvada, Colo., to make home-brewed Grape Nuts beer. (“Light and drinkable,” he says.)

A serious Cocoa Krispies jones when I was younger notwithstanding, the only cereals I bother with anymore are Grape Nuts and Cheerios, and, well, Cheerios is considered a drug these days.


  1. fillyjonk »

    2 July 2009 · 6:58 am

    Amish and Mennonite ladies apparently make their own Grape-Nuts. I have a Mennonite cookbook with a recipe.

    it’s not HARD, but it does seem to me a rather extreme way to consider saving a few bucks.

    I can only eat grape-nuts if I’ve heated them in a saucepan or the microwave first; I’m too scared of breaking a filling on them as a cold cereal.

  2. Lisa Paul »

    2 July 2009 · 10:42 am

    You must have some Googling technique. Where do you find this stuff? And me, I prefer my “21st-century version of snake oil” for breakfast.

  3. CGHill »

    2 July 2009 · 10:45 am

    It’s not so much that I have superior Google-Fu, but that I utterly lack focus, which means I go off on weird tangents while looking for other things. (And this same lack of focus makes it possible to post about what I find, because, hell, what haven’t I posted about? Don’t answer that.)

  4. fillyjonk »

    2 July 2009 · 10:51 am

    Which is why we love you, Charles.

    (I am a tangenty person myself. I have to catch myself with my stories in class lest the students begin comparing me unfavorably to “Ducky” on NCIS…)

  5. McGehee »

    2 July 2009 · 12:42 pm

    Cheerios is considered a drug these days.


  6. Jeff Brokaw »

    2 July 2009 · 1:41 pm

    I’ve always liked Grape Nuts since I was a kid. Now I (and my wife) find that mixing it with granola and plain yogurt is not just “healthy” but really tasty. The plain yogurt seems to offset the sweetness of the cereals.

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