Peanut butter is an excellent quick protein source, and it can be a helpful tool to use to encourage little ones to eat more fresh vegetables. Carrots and celery, anyone? How about cabbage? Yum.
Another thing I like about homemade peanut butter is that it's just like the "natural" peanut butter you can buy at the grocery store, only it doesn't separate in the refrigerator—you don't have to stir it. You can also make it as smooth or chunky as you want (though if you prefer a truly chunky peanut butter, I recommend making the creamy version then stirring in chopped peanuts at the end).
There's only one catch: you need a food processor. I've tried it in our blender and it's not as successful. Maybe if you have one of those super blenders, you could make it work. I don't know, maybe my blender is just crappy.
In any case, this is pretty simple: buy some peanuts from the bulk section. Put them in the food processor:
(Put the lid on top.) Turn the food processor on. Now just sit back and let it do its magic.
Wait for it...
There's still a little more time to wait. Make yourself a cup of tea! (After all, you're working up a sweat making homemade peanut butter.) Pro tip: don't take the lid off of the food processor every few seconds to take photos—makes the whole thing take way longer than it should.
Oh, it's reached the clumpy ball stage! You could call it quits here, really: this is like the kind you get from the grinders at the grocery store. I like mine really smooth and creamy, so I'm going to wait it out.
Ahh, there we go! Yummy, creamy (one ingredient!) peanut butter. If you like to complicate things you could add a few more ingredients: honey for a sweeter result; salt for a... um... saltier one.
Or perhaps you want to get really fancy and add a splash of vanilla extract or a dash of cinnamon. Don't worry; you can't mess this up! (If you do happen to mess this up, please come back here and tell me all about it. I promise to be very sympathetic.)
If you prefer other kinds of nuts to peanuts, try your hand at a different kind of nut butter! Or, you could try a mix of nuts to find the best combination for your taste buds. Keep in mind that the fattier the nut, the easier it will be to blend it into nut butter. Pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts have higher fat content than almonds, cashews, pistachios, and chestnuts. I've made almond butter a few times, and I needed to add a little bit (a spoonful; maybe a tablespoon) of coconut oil to the batch to make it really smooth and spreadable.
I store my peanut butter (in the refrigerator) in glass jars I've saved from other foods. (I think the jar pictured above used to contain artichoke hearts, or coconut oil jars are also a popular choice around here.) Mason jars work really well, though, if you have a few empties lying around.
Now tell me: how do you like to eat peanut butter? Are you a nut butter veteran and have a tip to share with us? Tell me in the comments!
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