COOK: Pantry-Cleanout Granola
Ok - I admit the name is not nearly as appealing as Coconut, Cherry & Ginger Granola but the truth is this recipe is a result of checking my pantry to see what I had in there. My pantry is stuffed with many canning jars that are filled with anything that needs airtight storage. I like to buy nuts and seeds in bulk and have one shelf of dried fruits and veggies from last year’s growing season. And though they are stored in glass canning jars and kept out of light (the main degrader of quality), seeds and nuts do have a shelf-life and need to be used sooner rather than later.
The name of this recipe suggests an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, and I have to admit, it was pretty much how I decided on the ingredients. The granola is super-easy to make and offers lots of opportunities to add spices, nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make it one-of-kind mix.
I am not a big fan of cereal (my body needs lots of protein in the morning to keep going until lunch). My favorite way to eat it is in a bowl layered between blueberries and creamy Greek yogurt. I also like to pack up bag of granola (with a lot of added dark chocolate pieces) for day hikes and have substituted granola as a crust for cheesecake or bar cookies (first process until crumbly, add butter or oil of choice and press in to pan).
Commercially produced granola is way too sweet, over-priced and sooo boring! I love lots of plants in my granola, increasing both the nutrient value and texture of this granola.
RECIPE: Pantry-Cleanout Granola
Set oven at 300 degrees.
Mix the following dry ingredients in a large bowl:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. each: nutmeg, allspice and ginger
Feel free to change up the recipe: simply don’t add what you don’t have or like and add more of what you do like.
3) In another bowl, coarsely chop 1-2 cups of dried fruit: apples, pears, cherries, raisins, cranberries and crystallized ginger.
4) Mix the following wet ingredients in a small bowl:
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
If you like it sweeter, you can add more honey. If you put in larger amounts of seeds and nuts you may need to add additional coconut oil and/or maple syrup.
5) Add the wet to the dry and mix thoroughly. Spread on two rimmed baking sheets.
6) Bake in oven for 20 minutes; remove and stir around. Put back in oven and carefully watch and taste for 5-10 more minutes. Granola can over brown quickly!
7) Let cool completely and stir in dried fruit. Store in glass jar.
Author: Sue Kusch
Sue Kusch, a former community college instructor and academic advisor, incorporates her experiential wisdom, expertise and science-based research garnered from her three decades of growing vegetables, fruit and herbs into her educational writing about plants and how people use them. In addition to her BA in Social Sciences and Masters in Education, she completed the Master Gardener training in 2011 and two permaculture courses in 2001 and 2014. She has studied medicinal and nutritional uses of herbs including studies at Herbmentor.com and East West School of Planetary Herbology since 1997. An avid reader, lover of historical and folkloric information, and a promising storyteller, Sue writes about the intersection of plants and people at www.plantsnpeople.com.