Friday, June 24, 2011

Organic Valencia Peanut Butter

I have crossed a line, dear reader. I'm not sure whether it is for the better or for the worse, but cross it I have. Actually, that is a lie. I'm pretty sure it is for the better, all things considered, but it does make me feel like I have taken one more step away from the mainstream.

It started when Arrowhead Mills stopped making their organic Valencia peanut butter, a situation which I lamented here. Since that fateful day, I have tried several different brands of organic peanut butter, trying to find a reasonable substitute. The ones that had the right consistency did not taste all that good. The ones that tasted good had a bad consistency. Nothing came close. I thought I would never be able to enjoy peanut butter again.

I did find a brand that was palatable, but not great. I have been using it, but my peanut butter consumption has gone down significantly because it just does not satisfy that basic peanut butter craving. It has been over a year since Arrowhead Mills changed their recipe, and I have not found a decent substitute for it.

Hence the inevitable. Earlier this week I was at Whole Foods to pick up some organic apples, pinto beans and cilantro. While I was in the bulk section getting the beans, I noticed a bin of organic roasted Valencia peanuts. Hmmmmm. How hard would it be to make my own peanut butter?

And as you can see above, it's not hard at all. I decided to try a small batch in the processor attachment that came with my stick blender. I just sorted through the nuts, making sure to get rid of any pieces of red skin that was still attached to any of them, placed them in the processor bowl, turned on the motor, and let it rip.

At first I didn't think it was going to work. It did chop the peanuts, very fine, but nowhere near a paste, let alone a butter. I had read that it might be necessary to add a little vegetable oil to make it creamy, so I did (less than a teaspoon in all), and all of a sudden I had peanut butter! What a surprise!

But, I think if I had been more patient I would not have had to add any oil. This is definitely a first attempt, and there will be some tweaking to get it to suit my taste, but it's not at all bad for a prototype. Next time I will let it process longer and see if I can get it creamy enough without the oil.

When I think I have a keeper, I will let you know.

I am excited about this. It isn't that much cheaper to make than to buy, but there is a certain satisfaction in making my own. And I'm starting to think about other possibilities as well: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts . . .

The list of processed foods that I buy is getting shorter every day.


Jenna R. said...

With the right type of blender making any nut butter is a snap! Both Vitamix and Blendtec blenders make phenomenal nut butters. While the blenders are an investment, they are DEFINITELY worth it. I covet my Vitamix :)

Diane said...

I make the best peanut butter in my Cuisinart processor. I can process until I find the consistency I like. I am searching where I can find organic valencia peanuts from the southwest.

Diane said...

Santa Cruz is the best organic peanut butter to purchase.

Diane said...

Jadda, are you saying you bought the raw peanuts to make the peanut butter? I want to make my own PB, as I have in the past, but I want to be sure they are Organic Valencias. Turns out I bought some Santa Cruz lately on sale. Either it was old product or it didn't seem to be as I remembered.

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