Spring is in full swing. Finches, nuthatches, sparrows, and blackbirds break the morning stillness calling in a new day with their most beautiful songs. The morning breeze carries soft scents of fruit tree blossoms. Fields and meadows are filled with budding flowers of breath taking colours. It’s almost impossible to escape the overwhelming feeling of awe and delight as dark winter gives place to life-giving spring.
Spring can be experienced as intense and extreme compared to the previous season, so it is important to be fully aware during this transition and take all necessary precautions and adjustments to support your health. If you experience coughs, colds, sinus congestion, allergies or hay fever, it is just a body response and a wake up call to realign with the season of rebirth. Instead of treating symptoms, look deeper into the causes usually found in your diet and lifestyle not suitable for your constitution, the season and environment you live in. In the Ayurvedic guide for spring you can read how to adjust your diet and lifestyle to the spring season.
Spring is predominantly Kapha in nature, though Vata can easily flare up too as we experience an extreme shift in weather conditions. To alleviate excess moisture, remove fat and mucus from the body, all signs of Kapha being accumulated during winter season, Ayurveda encourages using foods that are light, dry, warm, fresh, and stimulating.
One of the wonderful and absolutely delicious foods with these qualities is granola. Also known as crunchy musli, granola is a mixture of grain flakes, seeds, nuts and dried fruits baked in the oven. Though many store bought versions are easily available, it is far away from the home made crunchy delight. By carefully choosing the ingredients suitable for your constitution, seasonal requirements, and your own taste, you can make a much more balanced mixture. And think of all that love and care you put into the process of making something on your own, in your home, to nourish yourself and your family. How priceless is that?!
This home-made version of granola is made using wholegrain old-fashioned oats, good quality healthy fats, unrefined sweeteners and dry fruits, which all together deliver abundance of fibres, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium.
Once a week warm up the kitchen, fill your home with amazing scents of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, and enjoy your favourite granola for the whole week.
GRANOLA HEALTH BENEFITS:
- keeps blood sugar stable
- provides long satiation
- stimulates metabolism
- alleviates constipation, haemorrhoids, flatulence
- supports weight loss
- alleviates oedema, puffiness, water retention
- source of antioxidants
- rich in vitamins – B vitamins, vitamin A and E, folate, and minerals – calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium
- brings relief with sinus congestion and other mucus accumulation conditions
HEALTHY HOME-MADE GRANOLA
- 3 cups oat flakes, old-fashioned big leaf oats
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- a small pinch of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon orange peel
- 1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil, liquified
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate or apple puree
- 1 or 2 tablespoons orange juice or water, or as needed
Add after baking:
- 1/3 cup dried figs, chopped *
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, unsulphured, chopped
*Thank you Dad, for providing me with the best tasting sun-dried figs from our family garden.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) Gas 3.
- In a deep bowl mix all the dry ingredients – oats, nuts and seeds, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and orange peel. Stir well to combine.
- In a separate bowl whisk the oil, maple syrup, apple juice concentrate and orange juice.
- Pour this mixture into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix very well. Make sure all the ingredients are wet and, if necessary, add 1 or 2 extra tablespoons of orange juice or water.
- Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking pan. Try to form a thin layer if you want a very crunchy texture, and if necessary, bake the granola in two batches.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is light brown and toasty. Baking time depends on how thin the layer is and how crunchy you want your granola to be. However, be careful not to burn it since the result will be bitter. Stir every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
- When baked, remove the granola from the oven and let cool, undisturbed, to room temperature. It might seem a little too wet and soft, but it will dry out once cooled and become nicely dry and crunchy. Patience, please!
- Stir in dried fruits and store in an airtight container where it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks, depending on humidity. For longer shelf-life store in the refrigerator.
- Serve with milk, yogurt (coconut yogurt is heavenly!), cottage cheese or fruit juice for a quick breakfast or a healthy snack. It tastes delicious sprinkled over salads, too.
Optional add ins:
- dark chocolate chips – mix them in completely cooled granola, otherwise they will melt
- coconut flakes – stir into granola halfway through baking to make them toasty
- hemp seeds – add after baking
- raw cacao nibs – add after baking
- You can play around by replacing nuts and seeds with the one you like most and/or have in hand. If you have nut allergies, use plain seeds.
- If you are gluten sensitive make sure you purchase gluten-free certified oats.
- If you are prone to digestive issues, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of wheat germ or wheat bran along with other dry ingredients before baking.
- Though maple syrup tastes divine, you can replace it with brown rice syrup, agave or barley malt. Do not use honey for baking!
- Keep an eye on the granola while baking. Ovens are different and baking time might vary from the one stated above.
- If granola looses its crunch, dry toast it in a pan for a few minutes before serving.
Vata (+) – avoid eating dry granola, but rather shortly boil it or serve soaked in warm milk
Pitta (-) – use spices, especially dry ginger, sparingly
Kapha (-) – best served as a snack, with plant-based milk, fruit juice, goat’s milk or cottage cheese