Friday, June 1, 2012

Cooking with Food Storage: Make Your Own Granola

This is one of my favorite foods to eat for breakfast. It is so easy to make and it's made from 100% shelf stable foods.  Here are the ingredients:

5 cups steel cut oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup flax seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup maple syrup
1 TBS vanilla flavoring
5 cups dried fruit

The best thing about this recipe is you can add what you like and leave out what you don't like. I have seen granola recipes on the Internet that include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, cashews, sesame seeds and/or brown sugar.  I modified the recipe above by adding a bit more shredded coconut and a bit more maple syrup (1 1/2 cups of each). Feel free to substitute!

Here is how you make it:

Grind the oats, if necessary.  I have 180 lbs of oat groats in my food storage. To help with rotation, I use some of the oat groats each time I make granola. I have to grind them to make steel cut oats. For this, I use a WonderMill Jr. grinder - it makes easy work of grinding ANYTHING!  However, If you don't have a grain grinder don't despair!  You can grind the oats in a blender or just buy steel cut oats at the grocery store. Here is a picture of my grinding activities.

I used a small nut grinder to chop the almonds and walnuts. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, except for the dried fruit. I just combine mine in the same pan I will use when it goes in the oven.

Mix the dry ingredients well. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well.

When the wet ingredients are mixed, pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Place the granola mixture in the oven at 250 degrees for 90 minutes.  It is best to stir often. One trick I've found useful is to set the oven timer for 15 to 20 minute intervals. When the timer goes off, take the granola out, stir well and put back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. The picture below is what it looks like about half way through the baking process.

Did you notice that this pan appears a little empty compared to the one above?  That's because I divided the granola mixture in half and placed it in two separate pans. Using two pans allows me to create two different kinds.  This one, I left plain. I added 2 tsp of cinnamon to the other half of the recipe to make apple cinnamon granola. Don't worry if it looks like it won't dry, It really comes together nicely, but not until the end.

When the granola is completely dry and a bit toasted, let it cool on the counter. Add the fruit of your choice and enjoy. I usually use my own dried fruit. For this recipe though, I bought some dried fruit at the grocery store. In addition to the apple cinnamon, I created a mixed fruit variety.

Try making some granola of your own. It is easy, delicious and doesn't have any preservatives!

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