In the 1970’s, granola was launched commercially by major cereal manufacturers and it quickly became part of the health food craze. Granola is a very tasty and versatile breakfast cereal and we always had some around. Recently, I decided to revisit this healthy cereal and found a recipe in the cookbook, “More-With-Less,” which dates from the 1970’s era. I remember shopping for granola: “Heartland Granola Cereal” by Pet Foods was the first brand and was introduced in 1972. It was followed by Quakers “100% Natural Granola” and then Kellogg’s “Country Morning” and General Foods’s “Nature Valley.” What memories. Some of the brands are still around today.
And home cooks discovered how easy granola was to make — my mother caught the craze and there was always some variation of granola in our home. She purchased the ingredients in bulk at a local Mennonite farmer’s market. What fun it was to go shopping.
Homemade Healthy Granola
Homemade granola is very tasty and healthy Granola includes oatmeal or graham flour, honey or brown sugar for sweeteners, often a little oil and then is baked until crunchy and brown. Other ingredients are added in — whole wheat flour, wheat germ, bran, sunflower or sesame seeds, nuts, coconut, dried fruits.
I am especially interested in the health benefits of granola. Oatmeal lowers cholesterol, wheat germ, seeds and nuts have essential oils–and homemade granola is low in sodium. The cereal is part of a healthy meal plan and is just as relevant today as in the 1970’s.
The “More-with-Less” Cookbook gives benefits of making home prepared cereals as a way to cook and live resourcefully in our planet of limited food resources.
Making Crunchy Granola
I found a recipe similar to what my mother made in the cookbook, “More-With-Less.” Granola is easy to make. Mix the ingredients, spread on a baking sheet and bake and stir. I made several batches–varying the additions. This recipe’s instructions state to heat the oil and brown sugar or honey and pour over the dry ingredients. The recipe states to use either honey or brown sugar. I used brown sugar as the honey tended to burn easily.
Spread in a single layer on several baking sheets and bake in a low oven until crispy. Here is another batch.Towards the end of baking, stir often and watch carefully. This recipe burnt easily and it didn’t need to bake as long as the instructions indicated. Remove from oven as soon as the granola begins to brown. Cool, then break large clumps into small pieces.
And here’s the Crunchy Granola. This cereal doesn’t last long at our house. In addition to breakfast, it makes a great snack food any time of the day. It was difficult to take a photo because the cereal kept disappearing! I used it for a topping for Apple and Blueberry Crisp.
- 1/2 – 1 cup coconut
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup sunflower seed
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup sesame seed
- 1 cup peanuts or chopped walnuts
- 1 cup honey or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Method and Steps
- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees,
- Mix together in large bowl: coconut, rolled oats, sunflower seed, wheat germ, sesame seed, peanuts or chopped walnuts.
- Bring to a boil: honey or brown sugar, oil and cinnamon.
- Pour honey (or brown sugar) mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Spread on 2 greased cookie sheets. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring often.
- Watch closely at the last, not allowing granola to become too dark.
- Allow to cool undisturbed, then break into chunks.
Option: If using brown sugar, increase oil to 3/4 cup or add 1/4 cup water.
“From More-with-Less Cookbook, ©1976 Herald Press. Used with permission.”
And let me introduce my kitchen assistant. When it’s time to cook, Bessy is at my feet. She waits eagerly for any morsel to drop and quickly comes to check it out.What a joy Bessy is since she came to live with us as a puppy.