Granola with Orange Zest

This has a wonderful aroma when baking.  The orange zest is heavenly!  Note: you can use either pecans or natural almonds just make sure to slightly soak the almonds before baking.


42 oz. large container Old Fashioned Oatmeal

12 oz. oat bran

12 oz. steel cut oats

1 ½ cups dried pumpkin seeds

4 cups pecan halves

2 6 oz. pkgs. dried cherries or cranberries (with no added oils)

1 6 oz. pkg. dried blueberries (with no added oils)

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup water

3 t. pure almond extract

5 t. pure vanilla extract

Zest from 3 oranges

2 t. salt


Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In very large, oversized mixing bowl combine oatmeal, oat bran, steel cut oats, pumpkin seeds and pecan halves. Place brown sugar and water in an 8 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup.  Microwave brown sugar and water on high for 5 minutes until dissolved.  Immediately add salt, almond and vanilla extracts and orange zest.  Pour mixture over dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well coated. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Pour ½ of mixture on each cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour.  Stir ever 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour 1 pkg of dried cherries on each cookie sheet and ½ of dried blueberries on each sheet.  Stir well and let granola air dry on cookie sheets for about 1 hour.   Place in air tight Rubbermaid containers.  This granola will stay fresh and delicious for 3 to 4 weeks. Serve granola in small bowls with fresh berries and almond milk.