I use those French canning jars to store things in my kitchen, you know the kind that clamp down to close shut. I have been looking at a very large jar that is full of rolled oats, oats that I bought for one recipe. The jar was haunting me because the oats were not being used. So, I decided to make good use of it and make granola!
This is my favorite recipe that I have been using since I moved to Idaho in 1984. Instead of using oil to bind the ingredients, I use a frozen fruit juice concentrate. Nowadays it’s much easier to go to a local store and be able to purchase all organic ingredients. You can use any combination of dried fruit, this time I used dried apricots, currants and golden raisins. I wanted to add flaxseed, but I was all out and did not want to go back to the store. It was Sunday night and I was already nesting!
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup each of three different nuts: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, etc.
1 cup each of three different dried fruits: raisins, currants, berries
2 tablespoons organic cinnamon
1 cup organic honey
1 tablespoon vanilla or flavored fruit extract, I used orange extract (alcohol free)
1 defrosted can of fruit juice concentrate, organic. I used apple juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl except the dried fruit. I had to use a large roasting pan! Combine the honey, fruit extract and fruit juice concentrate in saucepan, heat to thoroughly combine. Mix hot liquid with oat mixture and coat evenly.
Spread mixture on large baking sheets and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, keep an eye on it if you know your oven bakes high. Stir every 10 minutes, too. When done, let the sheet pans cool and add back to a large bowl, add the dried fruit. Make sure your granola is completely dry before you store it. I had to spread the granola out today to dry out a bit more before I put it in mason jars. Store in an airtight container. Oh, and if some of your batch will be for gifts, use those sterile gloves when putting this all together. Just to be cautious these days during flu season.
Makes 24 cups granola, so be prepared to gift a quart jar or two!