By Erica Holmes
Whether you love it or hate it, you’ve probably eaten granola or at least heard of the stuff. It started as a health fad being served to people that opted for whole-wheat flour instead of refined white flour in the early nineteenth century at health spas. It wasn’t until decades later in 1969 at Woodstock that fruit and nuts were added to the mix; making granola an even more delectable snack and breakfast food. No matter what granola is to you: crumbly, bite-sized oats and nuts or in a snack bar mold. There are so many different varieties of the stuff that surely one day your taste buds will find a match.
Raw Granola is one of the most nutritious forms of granola. It is composed of live, sprouted grains known as groats. These are in place of the rolled oats you find in nearly all the granola at the grocery store. Groats in most raw recipes are gluten free, so rolled oats won’t be used in this recipe. In general, Granola contains no milk or animal products. Most of the time it is vegetarian or vegan friendly, unless you are throwing milk chocolate into the mix. It typically consists of sprouted buckwheat groats, soaked seeds, dried fruits, traditional spices, and of course the best parts: honey or maple syrup, and sometimes even cold-pressed coconut oil. All of these ingredients can be found at your local health food store. Raw granola is high in enzymes; which is associated with good digestive health and the slowing of the aging process.
Finding a reliable source for your ingredients is equally important to the actual preparation of this nutritious snack. Often you will find the groats, seeds, and nuts in the bulk bin section of the store. If you opt for pre-packaged seeds, be sure that the outer shells of the seed have been hulled. Otherwise they are not digestible or good for your intestinal health. Most health food stores are staffed with knowledgeable employees that can help you out with finding the ingredients you will need.
Another issue with making Raw Granola is that it requires different tools. Instead of an oven, you will need a food dehydrator. You can find great deals on dehydrators on the web. They are often abandoned after having been lightly used by timid cooks and left sitting on the shelves of second-hand stores.
Making Raw Granola is a more intensive process than regular granola because there is some minor farming involved in the process. Luckily sprouting seeds is simple thanks to a handful of reference sources available on the web. You simply soak them in water you are comfortable drinking for one hour in a covered container. Soaking the seeds cleans them and makes them digestible. After you soak your seeds you should rinse them with water and drain them in a mesh colander or sprouting jar. You can spread them in a fine mesh colander.
There is a purpose to all this soaking, rising, and draining: “ Rinsing is the process by which we add moisture to our sprouts. Draining is the process by which we regulate the amount of moisture our sprouts have available…” according to the good people at Sproutpeople.org. Plus you want to be sure to remove the slimy, inedible film that naturally occurs on most groats and seeds.
The idea of sprouting is to get your groats and seeds germinate, or to become living. You know they are germinating when you begin to see a small, very slight sprouting tail. Sprouting your buckwheat groats will take between two to three days. Soak your groats for 12 hours or overnight in water. Rinse and drain in a mesh colander. Be sure to continuously rinse and drain every four to six hours to avoid a musty, moldy smell.
Sarah Amandolare is a contributing writer for findingdulcinea.com’s The Foodie section. “For a truly healthy granola fix, try Raw Granola, which was a hit at a recent Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair (in 2008).” Says Amandolare in the website section. Perhaps Canada is indeed the roots of Raw Granola. Raw Granola can be difficult to find at stores, but making it is fun. If you have any interest in farming or growing things, homemade Raw Granola is a process worth trying.
Grawnola Recipe made with Love:
1-cup raw-hulled sunflower seeds (soak for 1 hour in water. Drain, air dry in colander or sprouting jar. Frequently rinse every couple of hours for a total of 12 hours. Store in a airtight container in the fridge until the other ingredient are ready)
1-cup flax seeds (soaked in 1-2 cups of water overnight, no need to rinse or drain these)
2-cups of raw-hulled buckwheat groats (soak in water for 12 hours, Drain, air dry in a colander or jar. Frequently rinse every couple of hours for 2-3 days. After a small sprout tail appears they are ready for eating. Store in the fridge in a airtight container until ready for use.)
1 ½-cups of walnuts soaked in water for 12 hours and drained
½-cup cold pressed coconut oil
¼-cup raw honey
¼-cup grade B Canadian or Vermont maple syrup
2 tablespoons of cinnamon, or to taste
Pinch of good sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons of vanilla bean powder (because vanilla extract is made with alcohol) or some scraped vanilla bean (the more vanilla the merrier).
2 Fuji apples cored and diced. Soak pieces of apple in a lemon/water solution for an hour or so…. this provides good nutrition and your apple will not discolor in the dehydrator. Use ¼ cup lemon juice for every cup of water need to just barely cover the apple.
In no particular order, mix all of the ingredients listed above in the largest bowl you have! Gently mix everything together and taste test so that you can adjust the spices, sweetness and saltiness to your liking.
Spread the mixture onto your dehydrator’s Teflon racks. If your dehydrator only comes with one or two Teflon racks, use parchment paper instead. Trace and cut out the shape of your rack. Please do not mistake wax paper for parchment. The slightest amount of heat makes food stick to wax paper.
Dehydrate for about 24 hours or until crunchy. Store in a airtight container in the fridge. It should last up to 6 months in the fridge. Tastes great with almond milk or yogurt!
Repeat: do not use wax paper!