Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade Nut butters

Time: 15 min. total

nuts (I've tried this with pecans and peanuts. Check nut processing if you have peanut allergy concerns)
(optional, for pecans only) Coconut oil, check processing for allergen concerns
salt to taste

A food processor, grain/nut grinder, or lots more time and a big mortar and pestle

1. Get some nuts, add a little salt to taste, and grind those puppies up in the food processor or whatever you've got, until they are mash. Ta-da - Nut butter! My food processor can only handle a small amount of nuts at a time, much less than other, less binding foods, so you may want to check with your processor recommendations. Also, blenders typically don't do too great with this (although I understand a Vitamix does all right).

2. If you are making peanut butter, you need to use roasted or steamed peanuts for it (tastes rather nasty with raw peanuts, IMO). I hear that spanish peanuts do fairly well for this, as they have a high oil content. The most commonly used peanut for commercial peanutbutter is something called the florunner, but as I have yet to see something with that name for sale, I'm thinking the spanish peanut is a better bet. I just used a regular ole peanut which I shelled myself, and it did all right. I added a couple pinches of salt. It was a bit drier than the peanutbutter I'm used to, but we didn't really care.

3. If you are making pecan butter, my attempts came up with a fairly dry nut butter. It never gets that creamy for me. In fact, in the processor, it just made fluffy little cous-cous-like balls of mashed pecan. I had to mush it myself to make it come together. However, when I didn't add salt to the pecan butter, I was able to add some coconut oil after it was scooped out of the processor, and that added both a nice texture and a pleasant scent, too.

4. Serve this as a dip for fruit or veggies, like apples or celery.

Feeds: Completely dependent on how many nuts you use. About 1/3 pound of pecans made maybe a pint of nut butter. Didn't measure the peanuts though, sorry!

What worked: Both of these nut butters did well as dips for apples, which is really about all we used them for. Might do well added to some kind of peanutbutter soup, too. Might do better as a thickener for that than standard nut butters

What didn't work: Rather plain, as I added nothing but the nuts, salt, or that coconut oil for pecans. I forgot that I roasted the peanuts for this butter, so I used raw pecans rather than roasted. Wondering if roasted pecans would have a more robust taste...whatever that is, LOL. Both of these nut butters would have to have a much higher oil content, or outside oil added, to work as a good spread for something. A neutral or flavored oil would probably work, but I only had olive and coconut, so I figured coconut was less nasty with nuts.

What would improve it: I'm thinking that a little investigation on some herbs and flavorings might really help this out some. Maybe a maple pecan butter or a cocoa peanut butter might be awesome...if I could have maple or cocoa, sigh. But if you can, you should totally go for it! Also, I'm reading a couple places that the fluffy ball stage comes before the smooth, buttery stage, so perhaps I have not been processing my nuts enough, here. We'll have to mess around for a bit to check on it.

And lastly, I know, I know, coconut oil is not usually a staple for a lot of us, nor is it cheap. But this totally works without that oil, I just shoved it on there because I sometimes add it.

LOW HISTAMINE - For lists that accept nuts, this should be low histamine compliant. However, some lists don't allow nuts, or only allow certain ones, so treat with caution.

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