Homemade Peanut Butter

I admit it, I’m a peanut butter fanatic. I eat it on crackers, toast, apples, bananas, in smoothies, and by the spoonful. My brothers and sisters and I grew up on giant jars of JIF and whether crunchy or creamy, it’s all delicious to me. Then I started learning about trans fats and hydrogenated oils, so I graduated to what I thought was “better” for me. You know, those falsely advertised “natural” peanut butters. A few years later, I learned how to analyze the ingredient list more closely. Basically if there’s anything beyond peanuts, salt, and a perhaps a bit of oil, then it’s not real peanut butter. (Of course, I never passed up on JIF or anything else if it was the only pb available…I’m not that crazy.)

My time in Spain was hard because peanut butter was nowhere to be found. I actually wrote a post called “Bye, Bye giant jar of JIF…” about trying to bring back a huge jar of JIF (before my natural days) to Spain and somehow being clueless and leaving it in my carryon. #newbietraveler

When I got to Colombia, I quickly found jars of Peter Pan pb at one of the supermarkets. But at 15 mil each, they were setting me back the equivalent of $8 each jar. No way could I keep that up. So I started looking up recipes…turns out peanut butter is one of THE EASIEST things to make from scratch….and then you get to control how much of everything goes in!

The best part about this recipe is that there are no real measurements. You keep perfecting it until you figure out how you like your pb the best…sweeter, saltier, crunchier, smoother, so on and so forth. I’ve been using my blender and it comes out smooth enough for my liking, but a food processer would be a bit easier. The only downside? Clean up.

What you need:

  • Shelled peanuts, preferably unsalted
  • Oil (you can use any kind, but I’d recommend a lighter-flavored one such as sunflower seed oil, light olive oil, or canola oil. I use a sunflower seed/olive oil blend.)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Honey (optional)

Peanuts, honey, salt, and oil!

Steps:

1. Pour some of the peanuts into a fry pan over medium heat.*** Let them toast for 4-8 minutes while stirring frequently. (Burned peanuts do not make delicious pb…I’ve learned from experience.)

Toasting the peanuts on the stove. You could probably also do this in the oven, but I've never tried since I can't figure out how to light ours. :)

Toasting the peanuts on the stove. You could probably also do this in the oven, but I’ve never tried since I can’t figure out how to light ours. 🙂

2. Immediately put into a blender or food processor while the peanuts are still hot. COVER the blender. (Again, lesson learned.)

3. Start the blender on low and let the peanuts grind for about 30 seconds. Turn it up higher bit by bit until you notice all the peanuts are getting ground into a powdery substance that gets stuck to the sides. This may take 1-2 minutes.

This is just as I'm starting to grind them.

This is just as I’m starting to grind them.

You can see it's very powdery at this point.

You can see it’s very powdery at this point.

4. Time to add the other ingredients! I start with about 1-2 tablespoons of oil, depending on how much I’m making, as well as some sprinkles of salt and maybe a tablespoon of honey. (Makes it like honey roasted peanut butter!) Pour all this directly into the blender. Turn it back on low and then increase to high for another couple minutes. You will need to stop every 30 seconds or so to shake the blender and move the mixture back toward the center and the blades.

The ingredients are pooled in the middle as you can see.

The ingredients are pooled in the middle as you can see.

5. Add more oil tablespoon by tablespoon, blending in between on high until it reaches the creaminess you would like. You may want to taste it every time to see if you need more salt or honey….and just so you can enjoy the deliciousness.

You can see it's very thick. I like mine with a bit of crunchiness, but I've also added more oil on occasions and it gets it much creamier.

You can see it’s very thick. I like mine with a bit of crunchiness, but I’ve also added more oil on occasions and it gets it much creamier.

6. Use a spatula to scrape into a container and enjoy right away however you like it!

**Heating the peanuts is not absolutely necessary, but it draws out the oils in the peanuts which definitely makes the peanut butter smoother and easier to grind up in the blender.

Clean Up Tip:

As I mentioned, I feel the worst part is having to clean up all the remnants of peanut butter left in the bottom of the blender. I recommend making a smoothie immediately after with whatever peanut butter is left over in the blender, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, a frozen banana, a tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, some natural yogurt, and a bit of milk. Then the blender will be easier to clean AND you get a delicious treat! 🙂

YUM. (Yes, this is a reused cottage cheese container that I broke down and bought when I was having a craving...I may or may not have spent the equivalent of $6 on it!)

YUM. (Yes, this is a reused cottage cheese container that I broke down and bought when I was having a craving…I may or may not have spent the equivalent of $6 on it!)

The whole process takes less than 10 minutes now that I’ve done it so many times. I typically make enough fresh peanut butter to last a week…you can’t beat that!

So what are you waiting for? Try it out! Put less preservatives into your body, control the oil and salt, and enjoy some freshly made peanut butter. Let me know how it goes!

Bye, bye giant jar of JIF…

Yes, sadly the pompous staff at O’Hare security has confiscated my giant jar of JIF peanut butter. Indignation and anger first crossed my mind as he dug through my backpack and pulled it out, then sadness, as dreams of pb&j’s and bananas with pb slowly floated out of my mind. I refused to throw it away myself (being difficult, naturally) and he rolled his eyes at me while taking it away. Stupid airplane rules. The seal was still on and everything! L

I’m heading back to….PAUSE. I would say “reality”, but I’m not quite sure that’s the right word for this, but I can’t think of a better choice, so UNPAUSE…..reality, as I sit at Gate K19 waiting for my flight to Madrid. As most of you know, I surprised everyone by coming home for Christmas. The holidays were absolutely amazing and worth every penny. I made the rounds all over the state of Indiana and into Chicago to visit friends and family. Thanks to all of you for making it fabulous!!!

I assaulted several of you with questions regarding my future during my stint in the states…there are several things I have been considering, but I’m not quite sure which is right for me at this time.  I appreciate everyone’s advice and I’ve decided I’ll simply see how I feel in the next few months before I make any decisions.