Homemade Granola: Healthy, Wholesome, and Really Yummy

I discovered granola one summer when I was working in Edinburgh, Scotland. Actually, it was “Alpen,” a type of granola called “Muesli,” which we didn’t have yet in America, and it was more wonderful than any dry cereal I’d ever tasted!  It was especially amazing because I always ate it drowned in fresh milk, and I mean really fresh! Back in 1971,  the milkman stopped by every morning and would sell me unhomogenized whole milk for two shillings a pint…the neck of the little bottle filled with cream! Sigh! Those were the days! I was working so hard back then that weight didn’t seem to be an issue, but…no more! Still, I’ve always loved granola. Do you? Over the years I’ve developed my own version, mostly to save money, but also for flavor. My kids—and now my grand kids—love it, so maybe it’s time to share the recipe with you!

Healthy Homemade Granola
(Makes about one gallon)

20 oz old-fashioned rolled oats
10 oz. All-bran cereal
8 oz. toasted wheat germ
8 oz. sliced almonds
4 oz. crushed pecans
1/2 cup canola oil (or your favorite liquid oil, although probably not one with strong flavor)
1 cup honey1/2 cup dried, chopped dates
1 cup raisins (if you’re rich, you could substitute dried cherries or cranberries)  Mix together in a really big metal (ovenproof) bowl, stirring until everything is well mixed. Place uncovered in the oven on a middle rack and bake for an hour at 325°F, stirring it up well about every 10 minutes so that it toasts evenly without burning. Leave it all night in the oven to continue drying.  In the morning, it can be ladled into a gallon jar or stored in freezer bags. It will stay fresh for weeks and will freeze just fine for several months, although mine never lasts that long. You can substitute or add any types of dried fruits or nuts according to your preference, or leave them out altogether. Experiment until you find your personal favorite formula. I used to add some brown sugar, but I think it tastes just fine without. Some people even use less honey or skip the oil. The toasted wheat germ adds a nutty flavor, protein and other nutrients, but it’s pricey and not essential. If you like granola but haven’t tried making your own, I hope you have fun developing your own unique “special recipe!”  Of course, if you have any fresh fruit to add when you serve it, like blueberries, strawberries or bananas, so much the better! (Also, I prefer milk, but some of my kids add yogurt instead. Either way tastes great!)  My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste” (Proverbs 24:13).

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