Saturday, 28 February 2009

Homemade Peanut Butter

I am going through a peanut butter phase at the moment, eating it all the time spread on toast, bagels, with jam or bananas, even in pancakes or even in my morning smoothie. It is a really healthy whole food, full of protein, good oils, and also low in sugar.

It is not a cheap food though! A jar of Sun Pat smooth (340 g) costs about £1.60 at the moment. Near where I work, there is are lots of Asian grocers which sell nuts and spices by the sackload (well, smallish 1 kg sacks). A kilo of peanuts from there costs £1.99, and that is the main ingredient of peanut butter. A look at the ingredients on the back of a jar usually shows about 95% peanuts, then the rest made up with some oil, sugar and salt.

I went for redskin peanuts, with the skin still on, but any nuts will do, with or without skins! Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, or any combination of these will work well! Normally the bought stuff is made with either vegetable, sunflower or nut oil. I didn't have any of these in the cupboard today, so I used some light-flavoured olive oil, at about 2 teaspoons per 100 g of nuts. Honey was added to sweeten it a little bit, and salt to preserve and bring out the flavours.

Ingredients

  • 500 g peanuts - or any other nuts
  • ~10 teaspoons oil - oilve or nut oils will work well
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey - you could use brown sugar, or even go crazy and have unsweetened butter
Adjust any of the above ingredients to your own tastes, experiment with the combinations - that is what I plan to do!!

Get some nuts...
Place in a food processor, like my Magimix 4200.

Blend until you get a fine powder of nuts, as shown below. This took around 2-3 minutes for me. You will see the mixture become a bit more oily as the nut oils are pressed out, although it still remains quite powdery.

Add the honey and salt to the mix, place the lid back on your food processor and blend again. Slowly add the oil to the mix, keeping an eye on the consistency. It will start to clump together and look more like peanut butter at this stage. Add oil until you are happy with the consistency - for me this was about 10 teaspoons of olive oil, or about 2 per 100 g of nuts.

Have a taste to check it is to your liking. Add more salt, honey or oil as appropriate.


Store in a sealed jar in the fridge.

This is really easy to make, probably took less than 15 minutes in total. And it works out at not much more expensive than £1 for 500 g of peanut butter. A bargain!

I think that I will try roasting the nuts before making them into butter next time, as I have read that this makes a stronger flavoured butter. I am also planning on experimenting with different nuts - although peanuts are the cheapest you can get, I reckon almond butter would be pretty good.

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