I could feel it.

My husband can take a picture. God love him. Organic Spark is one lucky little blog when John’s around during the perfect storm of a finished recipe and “magic hour” (5pm-ish – dusk, the hours of beautiful natural light). I actually took the photo below. I do my best, but it was John who captured the soft beauty in the granola parfait above. If I haven’t mentioned it before, his film Rock Prophecies is going to be airing on PBS nationally in September. And these days, he’s sifting through the world to choose his next subject. Lucky subject that will be. John captures raw, gritty and touching humanity through his lens. He shares the flaws, the heart and perhaps most importantly, the personal struggle. He uses a balance that manages to capture the heroic in the ordinary, which in turn allows us each to recognize our own heroism. John generously shares his soul and a beautiful soul it is. 

So, as I’ve learned more about the necessity to soak grains & nuts, I’ve desperately ignored the slow realization that our beloved granola is not really all that good for us. Teetering towards high-carb in the first place, granola typically starts with oats, which haven’t been soaked to neutralize their pesky phytic acid & enzyme inhibitors, plus raw nuts, digestive trouble for the same reason. I actually removed a blog post with a classic granola recipe, because I just can’t back it anymore.

But, what is a world without a little granola? What on earth will we grab as we hurriedly rush out the door? Snack time just won’t be the same! And worse, I planned a granola parfait for the Blueberry Episode of Farm to Table. What AM I going to do? Our granola must be saved!

After a good deal of quality mulling, I started by simply soaking my oats. I then added dehydrated nuts to the moist mixture before continuing with my old standby granola recipe, but due to a ton of excess moisture, it simply wouldn’t cook properly. I started it in the oven but was forced to finish in the dehydrator. The whole thing took about 12 hours to prepare. What resulted was a complicated, stale bread-like disaster that Mom nearly broke her tooth over… dang.

I tabled it.

However I couldn’t stop thinking that if I could simply soak & fully dehydrate my oats first, I could then assemble the granola using the same simple recipe I’ve always used! So after months of additional mulling, I finally soaked, rinsed & dehydrated my oats solo, before continuing with the classic granola recipe in all its radiant easiness.

I burned it.

However, in the pre-dehydrating technique, I caught a brief glimpse of granola greatness.

Enough greatness to spur one final attempt… This time, I soaked & dehydrated my oats continuing with the classic recipe, like last time, but I lowered the temperature to 350˚ taking into consideration that my ingredients were beginning in a crispy dehydrated state. As I pulled the granola out at the 10-minute stir mark, I could feel it. I just might have nailed it, and I even got a few stray butterflies of excitement. After two more rounds of 5 minutes I knew, I had finally found my “REALLY” Healthy Granola. After cooling, the lightly sweetened, crunchy, deep roasted granola somehow reached culinary heights greater than the original.


Click HERE for the Really Healthy Granola recipe…

xo – Organic Spark

11 comments


  • Chocolate Shavings

    That looks delicious – and healthy indeed!

    July 19, 2010
  • Anonymous

    Have a question. I used to work in a biochemistry lab doing DNA and protein research. In the course of our experiments, we used enzymes – a lot. Enzymes were incredibly fragile things. We had to store them in a -70 deg C freezer. When we took them out of the freezer, we had to insert them into a brick-sized block of metal that was also at -70. We took a few microliters for our experiment, and IMMEDIATELY returned the entire thing to the freezer. If you looked at them wrong, if you breathed on them, exposed them to light, they'd denature. I would expect that the same enzymes that are supposedly working in food would be immediately denatured by the highly acidic environment of the stomach, thus negating the whole soaking suggestions offered up by the Nourishing Traditions crowd.

    Where am I going wrong?

    Thanks

    July 21, 2010
  • Molly Chester

    Chocolate Shavings – Thanks for stopping by!

    Dear Anonymous – I understand your concern, and what a fantastic perspective you offer with your incredible life experience. Not having a background in science myself (only food!), I typically use techniques for two reasons… either 1) I try them and they make myself or my clients feel better. 2) They taste better!

    With that said, most of the techniques I have learned from the Weston Price Foundation are not as much about preserving enzymes (such as the techniques of the Raw Food Movement) as much as they are about removing enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which disrupt digestion.

    In this recipe, I do call for "raw" honey, and honestly, I completely concur with you about the enzymes being destroyed in the heating process anyway! I pulled my asterisk'd description of raw honey from a salad that isn't cooked, and it needs to be adjusted to reflect the techniques of this recipe.

    However, I do still cook with raw honey, and I would still recommend it to others. In the case of a cooked recipe, my reason for raw honey is quality not enzymes. I prefer to vote with my dollar by supporting farmers who use less refinement in their practices, and I also (as a broad generalization) trust the honey quality of a farmer who is making such choices.

    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave an informed opinion. I hope this helped clarify at least my own perspective.

    You'll see your effect reflected in my post soon!

    Warmly,

    Molly

    July 22, 2010
  • madness rivera

    Looks great Molly! And I love both photos :-).

    I am certainly not a scientist and may be out of my league with even trying to tackle the enzyme question, but I believe Molly (as most nut soakers [ha!] including me) soak to remove whatever protects them against bugs and other elements. It simply makes the nuts more digestible, and if you can get a little sprout, the nut's nutrient value shoots through the roof. As far as preserving enzymes in raw food, I think the live food itself is what preserves them, right? They are the perfect natural container and hopefully when eaten they are absorbed quickly. As far as being destroyed immediately when eaten, I think a big philosophical cornerstone of the raw movement (as least for me though I am not 100% raw by any means) is to keep the body's Ph as alkaline as possible, which is achieved greatly with plant foods. Obviously stress and other factors play in there too. Anyway, this is a very big-picture, theoretical answer.

    July 22, 2010
  • My Farmhouse Kitchen

    so HAPPY to stop by today and visit with you, molly

    lovely photographs and that recipe looks like a winner….

    i am making it for sure

    i see my sweet friend, dawn from may all seasons here on your sidebar…she is such a delight in my life…one of my favorite people i have met in this blogland…

    did you see her and ramon are getting a new puppy…boston is his name..i am over the moon HAPPY for them….

    happy to be here today

    kary and teddy
    xxx

    July 24, 2010
  • Anonymous

    My family loves soaked granola, and actually prefers it to the traditional kind. Thank you for getting the word out!

    A couple of thoughts…

    It is the Ayurvedic perspective that honey should never be heated, as heat reacts with honey to create toxins. If so, maple syrup might be a better choice for baking recipes.

    Also, in response to the comment from Madness Rivera that plant foods are conducive to creating an alkaline condition in the body… I disagree. I believe from studying the work of Weston Price, Edward Howell and others, that it's complete digestion of whole foods of any origin that creates an ideal ph balance in the body. The Eskimos on their traditional diet maintained a healthy ph by consuming foods of an animal origin almost exclusively.

    Furthermore, the acid/alkaline balance is dependent on proper mineral stores in the body which are facilitated by consumption of the fat soluble vitamins found predominantly in animal fats.

    In addition, it's not the goal to have enzymes "absorbed quickly" but rather, that the viable food enzymes in raw foods of any origin do the lion's share of digestive work in the body so it's own metabolic enzymes are spared for other activity. Hence the Eskimo saying "When we feed our sled dogs raw fish they run for hours, but when we feed them fermented fish, they run all day." Fermentation further facilitates digestion through enhancing enzyme availability and sparing the body's own metabolic enzymes.

    Thanks for listening!

    August 12, 2010
  • Vicki

    nice post!

    November 2, 2010
  • Wilton

    Yum! A very healthy granola! Did you know that almonds are very rich in calcium, which helps make our teeth and bones become healthy? Mixing almonds in snacks eliminate the risks for tooth lose and osteoporosis. Dentists, Miami, Florida help teach the kids in the daycare center across the block about the importance of having strong teeth and dental hygiene. For the adults dentists also discussed new things that could protect the teeth from discoloration and bacteria which are the veneers. Miami folks see to it that at a young age their child should know the importance of cleanliness and good health.

    November 9, 2010
  • PurpleDancingDahlias

    We absolutely LOVE this recipe. We go through granola about as fast as we go through water, lol. My dehydrator runs non-stop to keep up with the requests. We always pair it with homemade raw milk yogurt or kefir, some fresh fruit, and a drizzle of raw honey. Yum!! and thank you!

    December 18, 2010
  • Molly Chester

    Thanks for letting me know PurpleDancingDahlias! That was so nice to hear! This is a staple in my house as well. Happy holidays dear!

    December 18, 2010
  • […] Unlike almost every cookie known to man-kind, these cookies are best once cooled. Actually, they are the BEST after a good night’s sleep. The maple crystals seem to settle in and go from a bit chewy to soft and delightful. This trait makes them a great “gift” cookie, since they simply get better with age. Keep a close watch on the measurements below – the sprouted pastry (soft white) measurement is 1 1/4, while the sprouted bread (hard red) and oats are 1 1/2. Just didn’t want to trip you up there. To learn how to soak and dehydrate oats, visit the technique of Really Healthy Granola. […]

    February 19, 2011

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