This year our pumpkin and gourd harvest was not as prolific as we’ve hoped.
I’ve mentioned before about the family of deer who come to our garden to enjoy a vegetarian supper each evening.
Along with squash blossoms, flowers on the pumpkins and gourds apparently were treats, too, since a good amount of them got munched off.
The pumpkins are a lot smaller than usual, as well. Mother Nature is like that – some years she’s more generous than others, but regardless, we always get what we need.
I cut one of the little pumpkins open and was surprised and delighted to see a thick layer of flesh. Nice for soups, pastas and pies.
There was a good amount of seeds, too. I saved enough for next year’s planting and dried some to add to a new version of a family fave: granola.
Inspiration for making the granola started with a reader’s request. “I like your pumpkin spice granola and need to know if I can add more nuts and seeds without altering the rest of the recipe,” she said. I experimented and came up with a yummy batch with extra nuts and seeds, a bit less fruit and a little more honey coating.
Make this your own by subbing in different kinds of nuts and seeds, your favorite oil, maple syrup instead of honey, or your favorite dried fruit.
Super nuts and seeds pumpkin spice granola
Eat as an energy-giving snack or a cereal.
4 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups or so combination unsalted raw nuts and seeds – I used cashews, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, sunflower, flax and pumpkin/pepita seeds
1 cup or so dried fruit (optional but good) – I used dried cherries
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice or cinnamon or to taste
2-3 teaspoons vanilla
Spray baking pans or line with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 300.
Spray large bowl and spatula. (This makes it easier to mix ingredients.)
Pour in oats, nuts and seeds. Mix and set aside.
Whisk oil, honey, salt, spice and vanilla in saucepan and cook over low heat just until warm. (Or use microwave.)
Pour over oat mixture and stir to coat evenly.
Spread onto baking pans in single layers.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden, stirring halfway through. Careful not to overbake or small seeds may burn.
Granola will crisp up as it cools completely in the pans.
After cooling, pour granola into big bowl and stir in fruit.
Store at room temperature, covered, for about 3 weeks.
Why use old fashioned oats?
Larger and less processed, they bake up better and more intact than quick oats. If all you have are quick oats, go ahead and use them. The difference will be slight.
Add handful of unsweetened coconut
Add it halfway through baking time so it doesn’t burn.