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Orange Hazel Nut Fig Granola

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Orange Hazel Nut Fig Granola – Figs are high in antioxidants, potassium, fiber, iron, and unusual for a fruit it is also high in calcium.  With some of these precious jewels in my possession, I  just had to FIG-ure out what I wanted to do with them. And since I have been on a granola roll… I got busy in the kitchen.  Fresh figs are new to me and boy do I love them!  I spent 28 years in Alaska and never saw a fresh one.  It wasn’t until I attended raw culinary school that I discovered these little gems.  They have a sensuous and sculptured appearance, like a little package containing a great secret.  The fig itself, the soft pod that we eat, is actually the base of the fig plant’s flower.  Figs are very popular and usually end up being dried and used in sweets, the complete fruit is completely edible.  Dried figs keep well without refrigeration and have a concentrated, sweet flavor.

The other star ingredient in today’s recipe is Quinoa.  Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture with a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.  Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.   It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”  And what gold it is,  high in protein, band not just any protien  but a complete protein, for it includes all nine essential amino acids.  Quinoa’s amino acid profile is well-balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, and it is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.  Because quinoa is a such good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa, soaked**
  • 4 cups raw, gluten-free oats, soaked**
  • 6 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (for the grain soaking)
  • 1 cup dried figs, soaked and diced
  • 2 cup hazel nuts, rough chopped
  • 3 Tbsp orange zest
  • _______________
  • 4 large fresh figs
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice (took 2 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp raw agave nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl soak the quinoa and oats in 10 cups of water and 6 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar.  You can read here why this step is so important.  Soak these for a minimum of 8 hours, up to 24 hours.  The longer the better.
  2. In a separate bowl, soak the figs just to soften them.  After the soak period, drain and dice.
  3. Once the soak period is complete,  drain and rinse the grains until the water runs clear.  I had to use a nut bag because the holes in my colander were to big for the quinoa.  Place in a large bowl, adding in the dried figs and nuts. Set aside while you make the “sauce”.
  4. In the food processor combine; fresh figs, orange juice, chia seeds, agave, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  Process until nice and smooth.  This made approx. 2 1/2 cups worth.
  5. Pour sauce over the grains, nuts and dried figs.  Sprinkle the orange zest on top and mix until everything is well coated. Allow the batter to rest for about 15 minutes, giving the chia seeds any extra time needed to absorb any liquid in the bowl.
  6. Take your granola batter and spread approx. 2 cups worth of mixture on the non-stick Teflex sheets that comes with your dehydrator.  Spread it out.
  7. Place all your trays in the dehydrator and dry on 105 degrees for approx. 16-24 hrs.  Basically, until everything well dried.
  8. Once dehydrated and cooled, break the granola up and store in a glass container.  Enjoy for breakfast with nut milk or eat as a snack.

Buying and Storing Fresh Figs

  • Fresh figs are picked ripe.  They do not improve after picking.
  • A fresh fig is soft and has a fragrant, spicy perfume.  If it’s over-ripe or spoiling, it will smell rotten.
  • It’s okay, and in fact advisable, to refrigerate figs after you buy them. Even an afternoon sitting on your kitchen counter can cause figs to spoil.
  • Don’t peel them. If the tip of the fig seems coarse, this can be sliced off, but the skin is soft, easy to digest, and flavorful.  If you want to give them a quick rinse or wipe the skin with a damp paper towel, that’s fine.
  • Above all, treat fresh figs gently and eat them as soon as possible after buying them.

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