If you are a frequent reader of this blog, it probably means your one of those outdoorsy types. And if you’re one of those outdoorsy types, you’ve probably consumed more than your fair share of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches over the years. Or maybe by now you prefer a more “grown-up” substitute, like almond or cashew butter. Or perhaps you go for one of the seemingly contradictory “nut-free” options, like sunflower seed butter. But whether you reach for something fancy and exotic, or just plain ole PB, this post is for you!
One of the things I was most excited about when I got my new food processor for Christmas was making my own nut butters. They are good for you, easy to make, and cheaper than storebought! Not to mention that once you’ve had a taste of freshly ground peanut butter, you’ll never be able to look at JIF the same way…
How to Make Your Own
Making your own nut butter is as easy as tossing some nuts into your food processor, turning it on, and then walking away. Come back every few minutes or so to scrape down the sides. You can use whatever sort of combination of nuts/seeds you like. Some folks prefer to dry-roast the nuts first to enhance the flavor. I personally haven’t noticed a huge difference – so if I have time I’ll pop ’em in the oven for a few minutes, but if not I just toss them in raw. Your nuts will go through many different stages before they turn into butter. The length of time depends on the type of nut used and the strength of your food processor – don’t worry, they’ll all get there! When you first start processing, you’ll see a dusty flour turn into a coarse meal, then to a pasty dough ball until finally…drum roll please – a smoooooth and delicious butter! Some people also add a teaspoon or two of oil to help get the perfect consistency, but I generally haven’t found a need to do that.
Adding your own mix-ins might be the tastiest part about homemade nut butters. It’s easy to take a “plain jane” nut butter (which is delicious in its own right), and turn it into a delectable, exotic tasting variation. Possible options include cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, honey, cocoa, coconut, and even dark chocolate for all you nutella lovers out there! Some of our favorites have been “Snickerdoodle Almond” (recipe adapted from here), Salted Maple Pecan (recipe adapted from here), and even our very own concoction of Pumpkin Walnut! Next on list to try is White Chocolate Macadamian Nut (if I can ever find those on sale!)
About the Savings
If you’re family goes through nut butter the way mine does, the savings can really add up, especially if you are able to find nuts in bulk. Generally I’ve found that the more expensive the nut, the more money you’d save making your own nut butter. For example, I can make a pint of basic PB for around $2 – much cheaper than other “all natural” brands, but not a lot of savings compared to a mainstream brand like JIF or Skippy (made wth hydrogenated oils and other questionable ingredients.) But I can make almond butter (flavored with cinnamon and vanilla) for half the price of our local plain grocery store version. Even JIF’s cashew butter is $8 per 12 oz…whereas the homemade option rings in just over $5 for 16 oz. And the fancy ones? Well, I’ve never seen pecan or pistachio butter in the store, but I imagine it’d be more than $4-6 per pint!
It sounds to good to be true, but it’s not! Trust me, if you are a PB fan, you have only hit the tip of the iceberg…can I get an “Amen” from anyone else out there that makes their own nut butters? I’d love to compare favorite flavors!