Pumpkin Harvest Granola
It’s that time of year when all things pumpkin begin to appear everywhere we look! I love the flavors of pumpkin pie, and what better way to enjoy them than in a delicious, iron-rich granola.
Did I say iron rich?
Why, yes, I did!
I chose many of the ingredients in this recipe because they are rich in iron. Iron is an essential nutrient for all of us because it’s a building block of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in our red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when iron is low enough to affect our ability to produce normal red blood cells. (In fact, my alternative name for this recipe was Blood-Building Granola, but I thought Pumpkin Harvest was SO much more inviting!)
Iron is also important to our metabolism because it’s a component of myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Iron is necessary for growth and development, which is why we check young children for anemia routinely.
While iron is important for all of us, it’s especially important for growing children and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding (because they are nourishing growing babies). Iron is extra important for premenopausal women because of monthly blood loss during the menstrual period.
Many people think of iron-rich foods being exclusively from animal sources like red meat. In truth, dietary iron comes in two forms, heme and non-heme. Plants and fortified foods contain non-heme iron, which is also valuable to our nutrition. Iron bioavailability is enhanced by Vitamin C (which is why those dried apricots are especially helpful!).
Here’s a list of some sources of plant-based iron:
Look at all those awesome sources of iron! Notice any overlap with foods that are also rich in fiber or healthy Omega 3 fats or magnesium? I think Nature is trying to tell us something . . . !
Feel free to mix and match the ingredients listed. I love the slightly bitter flavor of sesame seeds, but others don’t. Fresh out of hemp seeds? No worries, just omit. Don’t stock apricots in your pantry? Use raisins instead!
One amazing thing about using black strap molasses is that it makes this granola SUPER CHUNKY. It’s amazing! Consider breaking your masterpiece into larger pieces and eating as a granola bar. I personally eat granola almost every morning atop my oatmeal or coconut yogurt with a bit of fruit (accompanied by a side of vegetables, of course!). However you decide to enjoy this granola, know that you are doing your body a big favor. Just watch your portions . . . this stuff is rich!
Yield: makes a lot (11+ cups!)
1 ½ cup rolled old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup raw pecans
1 cup raw unsweetened coconut
½ cup uncooked millet
½ cup uncooked quinoa
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup dried apricots, diced
¼ cup black strap molasses
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well.
3. Combine molasses, oil, honey, salt and spices in a cup and whisk to combine. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Bake in oven at 275 degrees for 45 minutes. Stir at 15 minutes and 30 minutes to ensure even baking, if you can. (I’ve also just let it go the full 45 minutes and it was just fine!)
5. Allow to cool completely over the course of a few hours.
6. Store in a re-sealable container. Will last approximately 2 weeks (if your someone doesn’t eat it all before then!)