There's so much to gather at this time of the year that I hardly find the time to blog. Rowan berries, hazelnuts, walnuts, apples, acorns, rose hips, hop bells and more. I'm in love with the deep, rich scent of the soil at this time of the year.
Usually a lot of apples are ripe at the same time and many people simply don't have the time to process them and they hate to see all that rotting fruit on the ground. If you ask around at this time of the year, there surely are some hidden fruit treasures to find. As they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree. It's yours to pick it up.
But let's see what we can do with these autumn fruits and nuts, other than place them in a basket in the living room (where they disappear fast, I can tell you).
I made this granola. Well, it's not just granola, it's a story. It's September transformed into a mixture of flavours.
The apple star story has always been one of my favourites. It seems to fit this time of the year so perfectly. And it makes eating apples so much more magical.
I also vividly remember the challenge as a child to peel a whole apple trying to keep the peel in one piece. You'd be lucky if you could do that. I've had a lot of practice and after peeling two big bags full of apples, I can now happily announce that I surely have tons of good luck coming my way.
But honestly, don't worry too much about the exact measures in the recipe. This granola is so versatile you can switch with other nuts and seeds, and change the amounts easily.
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup beech nuts
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup dried fruit (I used foraged apples and some cherries. Had some dried raisins in the cupboard as well, which I tossed in)
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
- zest of 1 (organic) orange
- a pinch of spices you like: cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla
Optionally you can soak the nuts and seeds overnight, strain off the soaking water and let them dry for a few hours.
In Ireland there were 3 trees of high importance: the apple tree for its beauty, the oak for its strength and the hazel for its wisdom. These trees were so sacred that cutting them down or damaging them led to death penalty. (Ok, I'm not particularly a fan of the death penalty part, but honestly, I like the respect people used to have for trees. We owe our lives to them -food, medicine, oxygen, to name a few- and the way I see them treated sometimes is a splinter in my eye. There, I've said it. Off my soapbox now.)
On a very low fire, heat the coconut oil until melted. Add the seeds, chopped nuts and spices. Stir frequently until they are very slightly roasted to the level where the pumpkin seeds break open (they seem to dance and make some music). Turn off the heat (using cast iron will hold the heat so it will continue to keep warm for a while).
Now add the dried fruits (if you use larger pieces like apricots, plums, apples: chop them up first) and the orange zest.
Last step: add the maple syrup or honey. Here's my secret: I had some honey in the cupboard that I infused with a combination of elder flowers and wild rose petals. To tell you the truth I don't even want to share this information with you and keep the secret to myself, but it tastes like heaven. If you are looking for a risk free investment: put that on your to do list for next year.
Walnuts were often used as a love oracle. When two nuts were laid in the fire and they kept close together, it was a sign for a harmonic marriage. But when the nuts cracked and jumped, it predicted a stormy marriage.
My Czech friend Lenka told me in her home country they make candles in the nut halves and let them float on water on New Year's day. Everybody keeps a close eye to their own candle. If your nut halve clashes with another one, it predicts trouble with that person for the upcoming year. If the candle floats calmly side by side with someone else's, you'll have a lovely time with that person. - Must try this out, it seems like so much fun to do, especially with the kids.
I tell you: September is the new flavour.