I love nuts. I prefer eating them versus dating them, but sadly, that's not always the case. I digress. I'm here to talk about food, not my dating life. That would be another blog entirely.
I love nuts because they're rich in vitamins, fiber, minerals and are a good source of protein. They're also highly portable - much easier than a 10 ingredient salad for instance. If I'm away from my kitchen and don't have easy access to any other food, which I sincerely hope you never have to witness, you can relax, as I'll almost always have a bag of nuts with me.
You may recall some recent posts I've written using almonds.
Where else can I go from here, but almond butter. I've always liked peanut butter since my childhood PBJ days, and love it on apples, celery and each one of my fingers. I don't like all the extras that get added to the nut butters that you buy in the grocery store, but I understand some of it is necessary to ensure that it can sit on a shelf longer than my fridge. Since nothing sits on my shelves for very long, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Making nut butters is really quite easy. You really just find your nut of choice and put it in a blender for long enough until your ears hurt and the oils release. I do recommend buying raw, organic nuts when possible. I find it best and cheapest to buy these in the bulk bins at grocery or natural food stores. If you have the time, it's a good idea to soak the nuts overnight before using them. Not only does it increase the nutrition of the nut, but it also help you digest them better. Better still, soaking helps ease the pain of blending the nuts later.
Depending on your taste buds, ie., if you like things that taste good, you're going to want to add a few ingredients to liven up your almond butter. It's pretty dense and thick without any sweeteners so I like to add things like almond oil, coconut oil or honey to lighten the taste a bit. It will still have a savory quality so I use it to balance out my morning smoothie packed with sweet fresh fruit.
The Vitamix is your BFF when it comes to making nut butters due to the power of the engine, but if you don't have one, grab your blender, ear plugs and a good book, and you'll be on your nut butter way. Almonds can take up to 15-20 minutes in a conventional blender, but what you're looking for is the oils to fully release and the blade to move freely. That's when you know you can restore peace in your home again and dig into some creamy delicious, natural almond butter.
How to Make Almond Butter
Makes about 1.5 cups
- 3 cups almonds - organic and raw if possible, soaked in water up to 6 hours or overnight
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, walnut oil or other oil of your choice
- 1 teaspoon honey (vegans: agave nectar) and/or sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place pre-soaked, and dried almonds on a sheet pan and roast until they begin to brown, approximately 5-8 minutes, and then allow to cool slightly.
- Put almonds in a blender and slowly turn to high speed. If using a Vitamix, work with the tamper to push the almond down and into the blade. If necessary, stop occasionally to scrape down sides.
- Once the almonds are nearly blended, add the oil, sweetener if using and/or sea salt and continue to blend.
- You're finished when the oils have released and the blade is spinning freely.
- Oils and honey will reduce the shelf life from about 2 months to 2 weeks, but refrigeration will keep it for even longer. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar.