Nuts. Flakes. And Fruits. Granola is known as the “health food”. But beyond that granola can be a great Good for You-Naturally!™ food for our health. It is super simple to make, and has endless variations – according to your tastes or what you have on hand.
Granola begins with grains – traditionally flakes, that is rolled oats, but more healthy is soaked/sprouted and dried oat groats or buckwheat. Soaking releases enzymes inhibitors that are in the grain to keep it dormant, (from sprouting,) to preserve it. Soaking will once again awaken it to life, and our health, providing better digestibility. If you prefer, you can leave the grains out and use nuts and seeds only.
Nuts and seeds are the next key ingredient. We stick to raw ones, for their health and life giving factors. Ideally, these should be soaked and dried too, to release the enzyme inhibitors. If you have tree nut allergies, leave those out and just include seeds that you are able to tolerate.
Sweetener and fat are the next ingredients. These can also help hold the granola together, and are both somewhat optional. Dates are a great natural sweetener that also help bind the other ingredients together for a crunchier/chunkier granola. Raw honey and pure maple syrup are other good options, if you use them. Raw coconut oil is our good fat of choice. Of course, the nuts and seeds also provide good fats. Flax seed is a great seed to include that also provides good fat and acts as a binder. While adding these liquid ingredients, you may add a bit of water too.
Seasonings are our next ingredients. Any of your baking spices may be appropriate, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, even ginger if you really like it. I also like to add real vanilla and/or maple flavors.
Finally we get to that third category, fruits. I’m listing them last, because all the other ingredients are mixed together and dried or baked before adding dried fruits. Dried coconut shreds are a staple in our granola. Raisins, dried apples, apricots, or most kinds of dried cherries or berries – strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. – can be added. You could also add fresh apple bits, or even a bit of applesauce as a binder, before dehydrating/baking.
OK, I’ve said it twice, dehydrating or baking. We recommend dehydrating, at low temperatures, for retention of nutrients. If we’re going to make a good healthy food, we want to keep as many of the nutrients as we can intact. Cooking destroys far more nutrients than dehydrating at low temps does.
That’s it. Mix it together and dehydrate it at about 105°-110°, until dry. Store in an air right container. Preferably glass.
What about proportions. Use what you like. there is no right way. But below are some proportions we like – and in parenthesis one of our fave mixtures. All amounts are approximate. This one is more traditional and uses the more common rolled grains, which are steamed, not completely raw, but still a good whole grain.
Lisa’s Good for You-Naturally!™ Granola
7 cups flakes (rolled oats 5 c., rolled barley 1 c., rolled rye 1 c.)
1-1.5 cup raw nuts and seeds – any combination you like (1 c. almonds, 1/4 c. sunflower seeds, 1/4 c. sesame seeds)
1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetener/water (1/3 c. maple syrup, 1/3 c. water)
1/4 c. fat/oil (raw coconut oil)
1/4+ c. ground flax seed (These are full of really good fats that we are all so lacking, always add them.)
1-2 tsp. spice (1.5 tsp. cinnamon)
1-2 tsp. flavoring (1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. pure maple flavoring)
Mix all together and dehydrate. When dry mix in:
1+ c. chopped dried fruits (1/2 c. coconut, 1/2+ c. raisins, dried apples or strawberries.)
Store in air tight container.
Serve with milk, or in/on yogurt, or just by the handful!