When considering all the junk that most of us eat, Peanut butter is perhaps somewhat surprisingly, relatively inoffensive with short ingredients’ lists consisting of recognisable things – peanuts, oil, salt and perhaps some sugar – not too bad when you consider the long lists of chemicals and e-numbers that we sometimes find on food labels.
One could argue therefore that it’s possibly not necessary to start making home produced peanut butter but, given how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to do (as well as being a great project to do with the kids, we quite often make a couple of jars which keeps us going for a while. Although we tend to be purists, it’s easy to add in all sorts of other things such as almonds, cashews, chocolate – even a little chili to add spice (not recommended for a PB&J however!)
I started with half a kilo of shelled raw nuts and put them in a medium (180c) oven to roast. Give the pan an occasional shake and you’ll see the oils starting to become evident and the skins on the nuts start to come away. It should take no more than 15 minutes in the oven. Remove and leave to cool.
If your peanuts are missing their skins – all the better. If you have to move them it’s a little fiddly but you should be able to simply rub the skin off – a good way to do it is to stick a pile of nuts in a clean tea towel and rubbing – then just picking out those which have shed their skins and giving those which have not another go. I did it in front of the TV.
When you start up your food processor it will make a loud bang as the peanuts get thrown against the sides and then the alchemy starts – in short order you’ll see the nuts smashed into crumbs which will then after a couple of minutes, start to clump together as the oils start to cling. After another couple of minutes it will start to turn to a smooth paste and after 6 – 8 minutes you’ll have something which is recognisable as peanut butter. Taste for seasoning – I only added salt in a fairly small dose as my kids will be eating it.
Decant into a clear container and store in the fridge.
1/2 kilo raw, shelled peanuts
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
and that’s all there is to it!