Gone are the days where preserves and peanut butter are the only things one would spread on toast. The market for nut butters has been experiencing a huge surge in the last decade or so. They’re delicious and versatile sources of fat and protein for vegetarians and vegans. What’s not to like?
I have found, however, that industry-leaders are charging premiums for pots of nut butters. I love Meridian nut butters, in particular, but their hefty starting price in the region of £3 is quite off-putting for someone who is trying to keep things on a budget.
Why not just buy a cheaper alternative? you may ask. Because other brands usually have added salt, sugar and oil, which are all unnecessary additions once you have been treated to the real thing. I’m talking about 100% nuts.
Peanut butter, cashew butter and almond butter can easily be home-made*. At first, I thought you’d need an industrial equipment to create the creamy concoctions, but in fact, you just need a working oven and a decent food processor. Have both of those? Proceed below.
Making your own nut and peanut butters (which is in fact a legume) is cheap, sustainable and zero-waste.
It simply involves roasting 250 g of your desired nut on a baking tray in a 180 C oven for 10-15 minutes. Shake the tray halfway through so they are evenly roasted.
Once roasted, let it cool for 30 minutes. This is not a necessary step, but I prefer processing the nuts once they are easier to handle.
Then, comes the magic trick. Food process the nuts on medium-high setting until it gets creamy. If it’s not creamy, it is not finished. Keep going.
At first, it’s hard to imagine how these roasted nuts suddenly turn into butter using just your food processor. But, trust me, it works. And just keep processing. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
Store it in an air-tight container. The portion produced usually lasts me 2 weeks, if I had been good.
An important note: you will see separation, so just stir the contents when you’re about to use it.
Simple. Sustainable. Satisfying.
Some ways I enjoy my nut butters:
- A great snack with apples and bananas
- Spread on toast with some banana and seeds/coconut flakes
- A porridge topping
- Added on pancake batter
- A great component on cakes and bakes – especially banana bread
- A fantastic addition to stir fries and curries (think Massaman curry!)
- Added onto my overnight oats. I actually have used near-empty tubs of nut butters before as my container for overnight oats as it rescues the last remaining chunks left AND makes my breakfast creamy and delicious
Tips for buying peanuts and nuts in bulk:
- There are many places online and in-store that offer large bundles for a good price – but this is not exactly package-free.
- I found that package-free can only be bought from specialist stores – for example my local Holland and Barrett’s has a section of bulk snacks available, allowing me to bring a cloth bag and weigh however much I want. This is great for limiting how much you buy (especially if you have little storage space at home). So this is only feasible if you want mere grams and not kilograms of nuts.
* I am sure this can also be translated to hazelnuts, walnuts and brazil nuts, but I have not tried these yet. Watch this space!
I’d love to hear your suggestions on how you consume your nut butters!