What do homemade granola and pollinators have in common? HONEY! Sweet, luscious honey! At least in my favorite granola recipes! The National Honey Board states: “A bottle of pure honey contains the sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants or secretions of living parts of plants. Nothing else.” Honey has trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, so what better to sweeten the yummy, healthy combination of oats, seeds, nuts and fruits that make up granola! Perfect combination! And – to boot — honey has no added preservatives, flavorings or coloring!
We’ve discussed the importance of pollinators for much of the food we eat. Honey bees are one of these very important species that pollinate many of the food crops we depend on. They collect pollen to provide protein for their bee babies to grow. They collect nectar and store it as honey in their hives. Nectar and honey provide the energy for the bees’ flight muscles and help heat the hive during the winter.
There are different types of honey depending on the flowers that the bees visit. Our local food stand is now offering “carrot honey” because central Oregon grows lots of carrots. Clover honey is the typical honey most people have come to know and love, and this is what I used in today’s granola recipe. So, now that you very much appreciate pollinators and the role they play in making honey, I bet you’ll love making this recipe! Lots of good, healthy ingredients AND it makes the house smell wonderful!
Katie’s “Thank you, Bees” Granola
4 c. oats
1 c. chopped toasted almonds (or pecans, hazelnuts)
1/3 c. toasted wheat germ
1/4 c. ground flax seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. canola oil
2/3 c. honey
2 c. chopped mixed dried fruit (blueberries, cranberries, mango, etc.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or simply oil the baking sheet – that works also!). In a separate, smaller bowl, blend the canola oil and honey. In a large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, wheat germ, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the blended oil/honey mixture to the oat ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly over the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, then gently stir it. Put it back in the oven and continue baking until lightly browned (about 10 more minutes). Remove from oven. Gently stir in the 2 c. of mixed fruit, mixing it well and dispersing the fruit throughout the warm oat mixture while it’s on the baking pan. Continue to occasionally stir the granola as it cools on the baking pan. When totally cool, spoon it into a glass container. Enjoy!