Friday, February 15, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter

There are many recipes for homemade peanut butter on the web. You can't hardly throw an emptied peanut butter jar into cyberspace without hitting one. Plus, it's so easy to make! So I'm surprised that more people don't do it.

I'm also surprised because so many of the recipes I see call for added oil. How silly! Peanuts give off the most glorious oil which makes the best peanut butter without any added at all. Plus, it doesn't separate in the fridge either. At least, in my experience.

So I'm sharing my method. I won't even call it a recipe because really, there is one necessary ingredient and one necessary piece of equipment.

There are however, a million possibilities! Have you seen some of the combinations available on your store shelf these days? All of these can be made at home, with fresh ingredients and no added.. well anything you don't want!

So to break it down, in my experience this hasn't been all that much cheaper to make than to buy. The reason I make it is so that I can absolutely control the amount of salt, etc. that goes into it. Sometimes things aren't always listed on the label. It happens all the time.

So I stock up on raw peanuts when they're on sale (my local Sprouts carries them, I'm sure you could probably get them at any natural foods store or Trader Joes, though I haven't checked anywhere else). Then I stash them in the freezer until I'm ready for them.

A quick roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and they're ready to go. Let them cool before continuing.

So I should have taken pictures of the stages your peanut butter will go through during your blending process. Next time I will, promise.

Homemade Peanut Butter
Peanuts (roasted, salted, honey-roasted, whatever)
optional: honey, maple syrup, whatever.. seriously, sky's the limit!

Grab your food processor. If you have a fantastic blender you can probably use that too, but I can't comment on the effectiveness of it. Pour the peanuts in and turn it on. That's it. 

Wait a minute.. not so fast. You need to be patient. Your peanuts will go through a few different stages before you get a nice and creamy peanut butter. I'll describe them the best I can here. This is important! If you stop too early, it will not spread well!

- First they will get crumbly (keep blending)
- Then they will roll up into a ball and look like dough (keep blending)
- Then it'll spread back out and sort of look gritty and grainy (keep blending) 

You will want to stop and scrape down the sides from time to time. 

This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Be patient! If you stop now, it'll get hard in the fridge and won't spread. 

The next stage is where the magic happens.. it's pretty neat to watch. The peanuts will then release their oil. Their OWN oil. No need to add any. Keep blending, and watch. It'll get shiny and creamy. See the picture below. This is after blending for about 8 minutes. Ask Chris, he had to pause The Walking Dead for me to do this. It takes awhile, but it's worth the wait. Don't feel you have to babysit either. Do dishes for the millionth time that day. Make your kids' lunches for the next day. Read a book. Update Facebook or Tweet that you are making peanut butter. Whatever. 

This is when you'll want to add your salt and any other add in's you're using (unless we're talking chunks like pretzels or raisins). So drizzle in your honey and sprinkle in your salt. Taste, taste, taste. You don't want it too salty, but not salty enough and it'll be too bland. Once it's to your liking, store it in a jar (perfect use for any cleaned recycled salsa jars, or spaghetti sauce jars) and stick it in the fridge. I'm not sure how this works kept on the shelf, though I have read that it keeps fine. 

So once you've gotten this down, then you can really get creative. So I had about a cup of peanuts left last night and I decided to throw them in the processor (I didn't even clean it out after removing the first batch). To that I added roasted almonds, unsalted sunflower seeds, chia seeds and hulled hemp seed. Repeat the whole process, it'll be chunky and gritty and ball up and then spread out and release those oils and get nice and lovely. 

You can add raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, nuts, pretzels, really anything you like with peanut butter. I blended a little of the 'enriched' peanut butter with banana for sort of a whipped peanut butter. Totally creamy and yummy. 

I hope you'll try to make your own sometime. 

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