Granola with Dried Cherries

12/12/2014

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I realize it’s far from cherry season, but in the midst of the cleaning-out-the-freezer and coming across frozen cherries from my parents’ tree, I thought I’d do something with them that would make me think of spring.

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Along with apple trees, my parents have some cherries that bloom beautifully in May. What the birds don’t eat gets picked and pitted later that summer. I do wish I had a picture of the laborious task of pitting cherries, but alas, there wasn’t one to be found. Pitting cherries is a multi-hour affair that consists of using a bobby-pin to squeeze out the large pit, only to have most of the sticky juice squeeze everywhere when trying to extract it. This is an outside-only job, and aprons are a must. Saying pitting cherries is a messy task is an understatement.

These are tart cherries, not sweet ones, and I didn’t know how they’d be if I only dehydrated them without boiling them first in sugar. They’re actually really delicious as is. I dehydrated them with my dehydrator on 120 degrees for about 5 hours, until they were dry, but still a little chewy. They’re great with granola, and I’ve added them to other goodies that I’m going to give as Christmas gifts later. I amended this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen.

Instructions:

3 cups oats
1 c shredded coconut
1 c pecans or sunflower seeds
1/4 c toasted wheat germ (optional, if gluten free)
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 c honey
1/4 t cinnamon
1 egg white
1 c dried cherries

Instructions:
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients except the cherries. Spread it in a thin layer on an insulated baking sheet, and cook for around 45 minutes. Halfway through the time, use a spatula to turn the granola so it will cook evenly. It’s finished when the oats look golden.

Add the cherries and store in a air-tight container. Homemade granola makes great gifts for holiday gifts, too!

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