Are you a fan of peanut butter? Ever wanted to make your own but were put off by thinking it’s a long, complicated process? The truth is, making nut butters at home is incredibly easy, and it doesn’t have to stop at peanut butter, either. You might not be able to find more exotic nut butter at your local supermarket, but you can easily make them at home. Cashew nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds all make great butters. You can even make seed butters using pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc.
While it’s true that they are high in fat, nut butters are extremely healthy. They are packed full of nutrients and are great for smoothies, desserts or even just spreading on bread.
The benefits of making nut butters at home
- Store-bought nut butters are often expensive, especially more exotic ones. If you buy your supplies in bulk and make your own, you can save a lot of money. Nut butters keep for a long time, so you don’t have to consume them straight away to make it worth your while. Vegetarians and vegans in particular are heavy consumers of nut butters, so if this is you, having a cheap, constant supply can be a lifesaver.
- It can be extremely difficult to get your hands on 100% pure peanut butter. Most companies will add in oil (often palm oil, which is produced at a great cost to the environment), salt and sugar. When you make your own nut butter, you can control what goes into it. You can keep your nut butters sugar and salt free, as well as control the type and amount of oil (if any) that goes into them. Most companies add oil because it’s cheaper than nuts. But if you’re already saving money, you don’t have to. With enough blending, you can get the perfect consistency anyway.
- Controlling what goes into your butters also mean you can create your own exciting combinations based on your own preferences. Mix a few types of nuts together, add cocoa powder or chocolate – you can basically do anything you want.
Making nut butters
Truth be told, there is only one trick to making nut butters at home – you need to have a quality food processor or blender with a strong engine you can run for a long time. Not all appliances are suitable for this, so if you need some inspiration, you can check out review sites like https://www.blenderfriend.com/ for the current best models. Pay close attention to engine power and durability.
Nut butters take a while to blend. Depending on the particular model you have, it can take 10-15 minutes or more before you get the desired results. Hand blenders will not do. Apart from forcing you to hold down a button for the duration, which is ineffective and annoying, most handhelds can’t hack it. The engine is bound to burn up long before the butter is ready.
Once you have the right equipment, the process is really simple.
Most people prefer to roast or dry fry the nuts or seeds lightly before blending them, though this will vary according to the type of nut butter you’re making. Roasting or frying for a few minutes will bring out more of the flavour, but be careful not to overdo it. You want to be able to smell the nuts, but you don’t want them to burn. If you’re a raw foodist, you can skip this step and go straight to blending.
Some people prefer to peel peanuts, almonds, etc., while others don’t. Peeling is easier after roasting the nuts and will make your nut butter smoother.
Once you are ready to blend, simply pour the nuts into your blender or food processor and start blending. The nuts will most likely cling to the sides of the container, so you’ll need to stop every couple of minutes and scrape them off the sides so that they continue to blend.
As mentioned above, this process can take a while, so don’t despair. First the nuts will appear powdered but remain dry. With a few more minutes of blending, they will begin to give out oil, making them stick together a bit more. They will still appear powdery. Keep scraping the sides and blending for longer (remember, it can take up to 15 minutes or more, depending on the strength of your appliance) and they will eventually give out all the oil and turn into creamy nut butter. That’s it! Simply remove from the container and store in a jar. You’re done.