We stopped buying peanut butter, and all nut & seed butters, about a year ago, and determined to make them ourselves. After experimenting with several methods, we finally got it down. Here's how you can make a spreadable, lovely, rich & flavorful organic peanut butter at home. You control the ingredients so this will be the freshest peanut butter you can get- and you can really taste the difference!
The secret, we discovered, is giving the peanuts a very long time in a food processor. If you blend for just a couple of minutes, you will have a crumbly, dry nut butter that will barely stick to itself and be difficult to spread. Give it a few minutes more of your time and attention, and it will transform into a spreadable, creamy, perfectly textured nut butter.
Starting with raw peanuts and roasting them yourself will make a huge difference in flavor. Fresh roasted nuts are so delicious, and the quality of flavor declines with age. Roasting nuts without burning them takes a lot of dedication. There seems to be a fine line of doneness, which I often cross. One batch of peanut butter we made looked chocolatey, the nuts were so over-roasted (some might say burnt). I was ready to toss them to the chickens but we decided to give them a chance and, even though it was super dark, that batch of peanut butter still tasted really good! It had the slight bitterness of dark chocolate or coffee, but even my kids liked it. Still, I would not intentionally make them that dark! If you don't try to multitask while roasting them, they will turn golden brown and delicious.
To roast, place nuts in a pan in a 350 degree oven. Stir after about 8 minutes, and then stir more often after that, until they are done. Roasted nuts will get slightly darker, with split, dry skins. Even if they get a little brown, you will have a tasty peanut butter, but go for golden if you can.
We used to use a cookie sheet and roast the nuts in a single layer, as shown in the photo above. However, we found that it's just as effective, and a bit easier, to layer them more deeply in a cake pan. They might take more time in the oven this way, but you can roast tons more at a time, and stirring is easier in a deeper pan.
Once roasted, let the nuts cool completely. You don't want the nuts to be hot in the food processor. Still slightly warm is OK. We have a 7 cup food processor, and I think it handles about 4 cups of nuts perfectly. Since we usually roast about a half gallon of nuts, we often blend in a couple of batches so we don't overfill the food processor.
Be prepared to give them time in the food processor, including stopping periodically to scrape the sides with a spatula to make sure it's all getting incorporated. This takes patience & perseverance, but you will have some lovely peanut butter in the end, and have one less thing to buy that comes from some factory.
We usually add salt once the nuts are thoroughly macerated, but before they are truly creamy. We use Celtic sea salt. Choose whatever salt you like and add it gingerly. We add maybe a teaspoon of salt for every quart of nuts, but everyone has a different salt threshold. Start with this ratio, and add more if you like.
When you blend it with patience & perseverance, you will be rewarded with a creamy, spreadable peanut butter, and a wonderful feeling of having made something so perfect from scratch. Try it with this simple, raw blended fresh berry jam.
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How To Make Fresh Roasted Homemade Peanut Butter
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