GRANOLA: WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT HEALTH CEREAL?


from July 1986 "Drying Times"


by Barb Moody

Granola is a general term for a sweetened mixture of whole grain cereals, seeds, nuts and often dried fruit. Once found only in health food stores, granola has become the sweetheart of the major food conglomerates. Today's grocery shelves are filled with granola cereals, granola bars, and granola candy. Unfortunately, the name is about the only thing that still resembles the original health product. Most granola products are little more than glorified candy, high in refined sugars and fats.

Homemade granolas are easy to do. They should be stored in tightly sealed containers in a cool area. Granola is a versatile cereal. It's great for backpacking, snacks, and for quick breakfasts. Try granola toppings on your favorite fruit, or on ice cream.

THE SECRET IS IN THE MIXING

If there is one secret to making a good granola, it is mixing the ingredients well. Combine all of the liquid ingredients first. Briefly heating (use low temperature) honey or molasses and oil liquifies the mixture for better mixing. Slowly drizzle the liquid over the dry mixture. Stir it well to insure even coverage.

TO BAKE OR DRY?

Most recipes for granolas recommend baking the grain mixture in a warm oven (250° F - 300° F) This produces a crunchy granola with a lightly toasted, nutty flavor. Baking, however, is NOT essential. Granola may also be dried. A dried granola is chewier, lighter tasting and more digestible. Dried granolas are especially good for using in other recipes. For a roasted flavor, lightly toast grains before mixing. When baking granolas, add any dried fruit after removing mixture from the oven. If you are drying your granola, the fruit may be added at any time.

CREATING YOUR OWN RECIPE:

You can tailor a granola to your own tastes and energy requirements. Here are some ingredient possibilities. A good rule of thumb is to add 1 part liquid for every 5 or 6 parts dry ingredients. Experiment with the amount of sweetening and fat that is pleasing to you.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except dried orange). Mix well. Mix together honey and dried, ground orange. Heat at low temperatures for 15 minutes, until honey has liquified and orange rind has softened. Drizzle honey mixture over dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Dry overnight on Teflon sheets. Use a low temperature setting (90° F - 100° F). Store in tightly sealed containers in a cool area.

FRUITY GRANOLA

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients except for fruit. In a small sauce pan warm oil and honey, mixing well. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients stirring constantly. Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 250° F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool, add fruit and spread on teflon sheets. Dry overnight. Cool and store in tightly sealed containers in a cool area.

GLUTEN FREE GRANOLA

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend liquid ingredients and slowly add to dry mixture, stirring well. Dry in a warm dehydrator overnight.