Monday, January 12, 2009

Peanut butter, homemade in five minutes

Barbecue review/comparison still upcoming! I made another batch of peanut butter this morning and had some for lunch, and then I realized I had to write about it.

Most people like peanut butter - at least, those who don't have deadly peanut allergies. But most of the peanut butter I see in the grocery store has all kinds of funky stabilizers and emulsifiers to hold it together, as well as sugar and other stuff that definitely does not belong. There's at least one brand of natural peanut butter in major supermarkets (Smuckers), but it's usually expensive. It's not bad here, but I know it costs quite a bit more back in New York. But I like my peanut butter - and my food in general - with the fewest possible ingredients, so I buy natural peanut butter.

A couple months ago, one of my friends at the library mentioned that her boyfriend makes her
homemade peanut butter, and that she loves it. I was pretty interested. She told me I'd have to get specific instructions from him, but the ingredients were basically peanuts, oil, and salt (as well as whatever else you want to throw in). I immediately ran out to the store, bought some peanuts, and gave it a whirl. It's delicious - there's much more peanut flavor than in any store-bought peanut butters, and it's also much stickier. For some reason it's also more stable than store-bought natural peanut butters - the oil doesn't tend to separate from the peanuts. The consistency is somewhere in-between what's usually sold as "creamy" and "crunchy" - there are tiny bits of peanut everywhere because the food processor can't grind them quite fine enough to really be creamy. A mortar-and-pestle might be able to get better results, but it would also take a long time.

Peanuts - raw or roasted (your choice), but should be unsalted
Neutral oil - not olive oil (although this may be worth a try for a different flavor)

Plug in your food processor. Add a quantity of peanuts to the bowl - just not so many that it'll overflow. Process until the ground peanuts start to clump together unevenly. Drizzle in oil while the processor is running until it's the consistency you want. Add salt to taste, and make a sandwich!

I did have a sandwich with this homemade peanut butter and some blackberry jam from the farmer's market, but it got eaten before I was reminded to take a picture. Next time! (That'll probably be tomorrow, never fear.)

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