Copper River Record October 2017
By Robin Mayo
The classic question is “If you could eat only one food from now on, what would it be?” Most days I’d choose granola. It feels a little like junk food because of the sweet crunch, but it can be a wonderful complete food. A bag in your pocket is a perfect munch for hiking, or a bowlful with milk makes a meal.
Homemade granola is incredibly easy, delicious, and economical to make. Plus, your house will smell great. I find that storebought granola is too sweet and tastes stale when I’m used to homemade.
If you are a person who loves to follow exact recipes, this recipe is going to make you crazy. But there are so many variables, and so many tastes, I’m just going to give you the framework and let you design the perfect granola.
Grains, nuts, and Seeds: In a large bowl, assemble about 6 cups of rolled grains. Oats are classic, but many other grains can be found in a suitable form. When choosing oats, go for the old fashioned, not the quick. Now add approximately two cups of nuts and seeds of your choice. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and coconut flakes can be put in whole, larger nuts such as walnuts or almonds should be coarsely chopped or slivered so they are similar in size to the rolled grains. Tiny seeds such as sesame, flax, and chia can also be added.
Drizzle: In a small saucepan, mix together ½ cup oil and ½ cup sweetener. Any healthy oil you prefer can be used, I prefer a mixture of coconut and olive oils. For the sweeter, honey is awesome, but you could also use maple syrup, rice syrup, agave, or brown sugar. Warm the mixture just enough that it gets very liquidy and completely mixed. You can also add cinnamon, vanilla, or other spices to the syrup. Adding a pinch of salt also seems to enhance the flavor.
Drizzle the warm mixture over the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. This proportion will make a slightly sweet granola that won’t stick together in clumps. If you want a sweeter, chunkier mixture use up to a cup of oil and a cup of sweetener.
Preheat the oven to 250o, spread the granola in a couple of shallow pans, and bake. Stir about every 15 minutes, and bake until it is perfectly brown, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Stir as it comes out of the oven so it won’t stick to the pans, and cool completely before storing in jars. If you want fruit, now is the time to mix in a cup or two of raisins, dried cranberries, chopped apricots, or whatever you choose. Some recipes add the fruit before baking, but it burns easily so I prefer to wait.
6 cups rolled grains
2 cups nuts or seeds
½ cup oil
½ cup sweetener
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt together oil and sweetener, drizzle over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread in large pans and bake at 250o for about an hour, or until brown, stirring every 15 minutes.
Hope you picked lots of blueberries, they are the perfect topping for homemade granola! Marnie Graham Photo, 2011
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.