Afraid of salmonella in your peanut butter? Kate suggests ways to make your own peanut butter, with links to recipes for many other delicious "peanut-inspired" dishes and desserts. Plus tips from her new Cooking Green cookbook and suggestions for St. Patricks Day's recipes.
by Kate Heyhoe
Last week my husband ground his own peanut butter, and it was so incredible easy. (Plus, the flavor of fresh peanut butter totally rocks—especially in recipes; read on.) He ground the peanuts in our food processor (you can also use a blender), in batches. He likes peanut butter a little chunky, but a touch of oil makes the mix creamier, if that's your preference.
Thomas didn't decide to grind because of tainted-peanut-butter fear. Rather, an enormous Sam's Club-size can of Planter's Peanuts, long forgotten in our pantry, was nearing its expiration date. The variety happened to be Honey-Roasted, so the final spread came out with a nice balance of sweet and salt. But any type of roasted, shelled peanuts will do. You can even roast your own peanuts using the peanut roasting recipe below. For almond and other nut butters, follow the same procedure.
Equipment: A food processor with steel blade, or a blender; a scraping tool (a hard nylon spatula won't get nicked by the blades), some storage containers
Ingredients: roasted, shelled peanuts. Optional: peanut or vegetable oil (any neutral flavored oil), salt
Method: Work in batches for the best results. Pour in enough nuts to come 2 to 3 inches up the side of the processor work bowl or blender beaker. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then fire away at full speed until the mixture forms a paste. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally.
If you prefer a creamier consistency, add a few drops of peanut or vegetable oil while grinding. For a nuttier, crunchier peanut butter, reserve a cup or less of nuts, then fill the appliance container to an inch or two less than what you would do normally (see instructions above). After each batch turns to a creamy paste, add the reserved nuts, then run the food processor or blender for short bursts until you achieve the nutty consistency you want. Add salt, if desired, to taste.
When the first batch is ready, spoon it out into a storage container; we find that several small containers are preferable to one large one. Continue until all the nuts are processed. For longer lasting freshness, store the peanut butter refrigerated.
Homemade Peanut Butter Snack Crackers: To make your own peanut butter snack crackers for lunchboxes, keep the peanut butter thick, and a little crunchy. Spread it on a cracker, top with another cracker, and it's ready for snacking. Wrap a few of these in foil and pop into a lunchbag.
How to Roast Peanuts: Spread shelled peanuts in a single layer on a sheet pan or baking sheet with low sides. Roast at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using peanuts with their shells on, roast for 30-35 minutes.
My new book, Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen—the New Green Basics Way, comes out March 30, 2009, just in time for Earth Day, and includes lots of tips to make your home kitchen greener...
Copyright © 2009, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified February 2009
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