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Making Nut Butters


ulterior epicure
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I'm a nut butter fan but have yet to make some at home.

1. Can any nut be "buttered?" Are there certain ones that just don't work as well as others?

2. If I don't have a food processor available, will a blender work?

3. What is the best way to store nut butters?

Particularly, I'd like to try home-made cashew and hazelnut butters.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Many nuts as well as seeds can be made into butter.

Check Here for some advice and instructions.

I make combinations with nuts and seeds, flax meal and oil, coconut oil (which is solid at room temp).

Toasting the nuts and seeds prior to grinding gives different flavors as well as adding herbs and spices.

You can use a blender but you have to do small amounts and make sure there is not too much load on the motor.

One of the mini food processors, relatively inexpensive, would be a good investment.

I also have one of these which works quite well.

I had an older Sumeet machine that had problems and I returned it for credit and I had considered getting one of the newer (and larger) Sumeet machines a while back but after I placed an order, I kept getting notices that it was back-ordered so finally I cancelled the order and got this instead. Since this does the job adequately I doubt I will get anything else.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I don't think I have ever bothered to measure. I buy a lot of raw nuts in bulk - especially almonds when they are harvested near my home, then freeze them.

If I am making nut butter for a recipe, I make enough and then some for the recipe. I try to make fairly small amounts because it will turn rancid much quicker than store-bought. I buy the half-pint canning jars - a case is very inexpensive and store in those. You want to have the containers as full as possible, tighten lid as much as possible and store upside down (on a tray, in case they leak) in the fridge.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Wow. Thanks andiesenji.

The problem is that I'm in a transition stage in my life and it's not feasible for me to be purchasing new (small or large) appliances. As soon as I settle in somewhere more permanently, I'll consider the options - until then, small batches in blender will have to do.

Thanks again!

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I feel I must confess that not all of my nut butter creations fall into the "health food" realm. In fact, one little jar that was prepared a couple of days ago combines cashews, toasted sesame seeds, toasted pepitas, dried black figs, a little very sharp cheddar with bacon drippings and just a bit of crisp bacon.

I have also been known to combine hazelnuts with olive tapenade and cheese. Chestnut puree and dried apples with a bit of bacon.

When I was a child I learned to make nut butters by "hand." Our cook would make "stewed" peanuts and crush them to paste in a mortar. I don't remember how she did the other nut butters. I didn't see a jar of store-bought peanut butter until I was twelve or so.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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How did the texture of the hand-pounded nut butters compare, Andie? I like the Real brand peanut butters - runny, still with chunks, has to be stirred, with a lot of very creamy peanut goo. I'll bet it would take forever to do with a mortar and pestle.

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I feel I must confess that not all of my nut butter creations fall into the "health food" realm.  In fact, one little jar that was prepared a couple of days ago combines cashews, toasted sesame seeds, toasted pepitas, dried black figs, a little very sharp cheddar with bacon drippings and just a bit of crisp bacon.

I guess I'm at a loss as to what/how you would use this for... other than directly spooning it into one's mouth... :laugh: Seriously, though, how did you use this nut butter (although somehow I think that myriad of other ingredients qualifies it only loosely as "nut" butter. :wink: )??

I have also been known to combine hazelnuts with olive tapenade and cheese.  Chestnut puree and dried apples with a bit of bacon.

Again - sounds wonderful, but help us less-creative thinkers a clue...

Also, I like my nut butters chunky - not strictly creamy. Maybe, I should sat that I like my nut butters creamy but with lots of chunks. Is it better to make a really creamy butter and then add bits of nuts (not that chunky - but like store-bought "chunky" varietals).

Thanks!! This is all very helpful!!

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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It takes a long time and a lot of effort pounding nut butters with a motar and pestle. I certainly don't have the energy today.

The nut butter with the bacon and etc., is presently, spread on a toasted English muffin along with a small spoonful of chutney.

There have been certain occasions when it was spread on two pieces of toast and sliced bananas carefully arranged between... I know it sounds odd but to me it tastes good.

I also stuff it in celery and in the small pickled sweet red peppers known as peppadews.

The nut butter with tapenade goes well on crisp toasted pita bread and also on rosemary/garlic rustic bread, sliced, buttered and toasted in the oven, rather like a crouton.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 5 years later...

Okay, so I tried to make almond butter in my Blendtec blender, and was horribly disappointed in my effort. I used the technique for nut butters in the booklet that came with the blender -- toasted the nuts, blended with a little oil, and kept blending until I had a fairly smooth puree. I did get a decent puree, but the texture was kind of a weird combination of pasty and dry, and the flavor was bland. I added a little sugar and salt, which did help the flavor a bit, but I couldn't get anything that I wanted to eat.

Granted, I had no idea what I was doing, and granted, I'm used to commercial peanut butter. But I'm hoping that I can get a decent product on my own. So I need lots of help, I guess.

Anyone have advice?

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I have no idea what you could possibly be doing wrong.

I make nut butters in the VitaMix, in the food processor and lately in the Thermomix and used to make them with a manual food grinder and never had a problem.

I roast most nuts a bit to develop more flavor and I add salt, never sugar as most are sweet enough on their own.

The mixture should blend to a smooth consistency with the addition of only a little oil - for almond I use sweet almond oil but for others use any bland oil - lately have been using the rice bran oil but have also used avocado oil to good effect.

If it does not have enough flavor, try cooking it very gently in a skillet over a very low burner.

This works very well with nuts that have a blander flavor - hazelnuts especially.

If the nuts have been stored for an extended period, try soaking them overnight and then spreading them on a sheet pan and drying them in a very low oven until quite dry, then turn up the heat and roast them for 10-15 minutes and then process them.

Don't give up, keep trying, I'm sure you will have success.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 10 months later...

Hi Andie,

Do you do the butter in a food processor or do you have some other better machine which gets the resulting nut butter quite smooth?

I now "cheat" and make the nut butters (that turn out just a bit "grainy") in my Thermomix. For most of my life I used a hand-cranked food mill with the "nut butter" die.

The Thermomix does an adequate job but does not render quite as smooth an end result as the 80-year-old Universal food mills.

I've tried using a food processor, the results are even more "grainy" than with the Thermomix. The Vita Mix does a slightly better job but only will process 1/2 a cup or so at a time and it is the very devil getting it all out of the bottom of the jar.

The Thermomix is better in this category because the blades can be removed and 99% of the nut butter recovered.

In this eG topic, I posted photos of two of the old food mills with the "nut butter" dies. These often appear on eBay but you have to watch carefully to make sure the units do include that special die.

I wish they offered a similar die for the electric meat grinders - I would certainly use that.

Another advantage of the old-fashioned food mill is that it does not heat the nut butter (by friction from blade speed) and produce a "burnt" flavor.

The only other electric solution now available that really works well is one of the Indian import paste grinders.

I considered getting one a couple of years ago but opted for the more versatile (for my needs) Thermomix, even though it is much more expensive.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've made some nut butters recently and they also came out 'pasty and dry'. VitaMix blender, roasted nuts, salt, and a mild oil. Then I substituted a bit of water for the oil, maybe 1/4 cup water to a cup of nuts. So much better, especially since I'm storing the finished butter in the fridge, as I'm pretty sure it should be so it doesn't go off. When it cools down it thickens up but doesn't feel dry in my mouth anymore. Also, with the addition of liquid I can process in the blender until it's really smooth, really get all of the little bits.

I bet it'd be a good idea to add different liquids to the various nuts to make some classic combinations into spreads. 'Candied pecan' with honey and water, maple syrup with walnuts, soy sauce and peanuts, etc.

Edited by chuck (log)

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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Right. It seemed like what was missing was moisture content. What I ended up with was the consistency of natural peanut butter, the kind with nothing added but salt, and it was too thick for what I wanted to use it for, so I had to add even more water to get the emulsified sauce thickness I wanted. The key seemed to be to really thoroughly puree the nuts in a strong blender. Up until the end it was too thin, then suddenly the blades weren't quite catching anymore because it had thickened. If you stopped at that point you should have perfectly smooth, thick puree.

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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Usually peanuts have enough residual moisture and oil that they turn into butter at some point but from time to time I have run into a batch that has less moisture. I usually test them by mashing a couple of the nuts between two spoons after roasting and if they remain too grainy, I dump the nuts that are still hot from the oven into a pan of hot water (from the tap is okay) leave them to "soak" for no more than 10 minutes, then into a colander.

From there I grind them, no matter the method I use, this works well for me.

I do the same thing with hazelnuts, which seem to contain less moisture and oil after roasting.

If the nuts have been roasted some time earlier and have been stored a while, I do a small test batch and if the result is too dry, I steam the remaining nuts for about ten minutes.

This process does not affect the roasted flavor in any way.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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