Recently, while visiting with a college friend, there was a discussion about making our own yogurt and roasting our own coffee. She, thoroughly appalled at our “hippie” leanings, sarcastically asked if we had begun baking our own granola. We happily replied that we had. Making granola is not reserved for hemp wearing, dreadlocked, VW bus drivers. The process is simple, the ingredients are primarily wholesome and can be purchased cheaply (even as organics), and a completed batch will save you money in comparison with prepackaged cereals.
The primary advantage to making your own foods is that you know exactly what you’re eating. The majority of store-bought goods contain preservatives and additives, not to mention unpronounceable artificial flavorings and chemicals. But when you make your own granola, you control the sugar level and fat content, and you can also leave out the pyridoxine hydrochloride. Natural cereals typically leave these additives out, but they can be very expensive. Basic homemade granola consists of oats, some sugar, and some fat. You can purchase organic components and create a much cheaper alternative to already baked granola. Depending on stores in your area , all of the ingredients can even be purchased in bulk, thereby increasing your savings.
Here’s our recipe:
Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 vegetable oil, and 1/3 cup honey in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Combine 5 cups oats, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a rimmed baking sheet. Pour sugar mixture over oat mixture and toss to coat. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. That’s it. Just wait for it to cool before storing.
Before baking, feel free to add any crushed nuts or shredded coconut. After baking, add dried fruit. And there you have it. Play with the ratios if you like (less sugar is always healthier). Experiment and enjoy. In order to ensure the greenest experience possible, store your granola in a reusable container. Used glass canisters are readily available at thrift stores for a couple of bucks. We store my granola in a giant plastic tub that formerly contained a spreadable margarine-like substance. Reduce, reuse, you know the drill.
In sum, you’ll save money, save the earth by using organic ingredients, and save your body by eating ingredients you can feel confident about. Besides, there’s no shame in making your own granola . . .