One of the basic things we store are oats. Oats are high in soluble fiber and thus help in lowering bad cholesterol-LDL, also the fiber helps with the digestive system as well. Oats can be used as extenders in cooking -- in meat loaf, for example, or I've even heard of it being used in taco meat. Oats can also be used as a substitute for portions of flour in baking. Or it can be eaten the best way, as a big bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon--at least that's my favorite way. Since oats are so useful and have a long shelf life (8-10 years under ideal conditions) they are ideal for food storage.
Now on to the granola. Granola is great way to use up some oats in your rotation. We eat granola plain as a snack, with yogurt, as cereal, or on ice cream from time to time. Even my 2 year old loves it....and he's pretty picky. It is a pretty easy and delicious treat that always goes fast. Crunchy, sweet, with a cornucopia of delicious flavors - maple syrup, nuts, coconut, fruit - it is simply amazing.
Alton Brown's Granola (slightly adapted)
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups nut of your choice (we prefer 2 cups of slivered almonds. The original recipe calls for cashews & slivered almonds)
- 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (depending on the batch I'll throw in a couple TB more of brown sugar)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup (if I add more sugar I add a little bit more liquid as well, both with the syrup & oil)
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup any dried fruit of your choice (or dehydrated fruit if you have that in your rotation)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add dried fruit and mix until evenly distributed.
I would offer an expiration date, but this granola has never lasted more than 2 weeks at our house. We usually double the batch too.