Few things (food-wise anyway) make me as happy as a little spoonful of nut butter, or a date stuffed with the creamy, nutty stuff, or even just a tart apple dipped into it.
I used to buy almond butter in bulk from my natural food grocer until it started tasting burnt to me, so I have sort of lost the flavor for theirs. Jars of nut butter contribute to more packaging waste, can have extra stuff added, or simply be expensive for high quality spreads. I am not perfect with eliminating all items that create unnecessary waste in our kitchen; but when I can easily make something myself, I am moving that way more & more.
It might not always be less expensive, but I can control the ingredients completely. It also helps me monitor my intake of nut butter, because I only make a small portion each week. Once it is gone, it’s gone until I make it again.
I haven’t turned to making almond butter though. Walnuts & pistachios have been taking turns in my food processor. This is really such a simple way of making something that tastes decadent & fancy but requires only minutes of "work".
I was giddy over the pretty green powder that quickly formed after several pulses. I’m excited to cook with pistachio meal if I can resist the urge to continue pulsing until nut butter forms. The eye-catching puree was lovely stuffed into dates & topped with flakes of coconut. I also smeared it over the top of the delicious, lemon zest oven pancakes pictured. I did not toast these nuts, but made raw pistachio butter.
They are one of the highest protein & lowest fat nuts, which does mean it takes a little longer than most to create creamy nut butter. It is certainly worth the wait though.
They look like little brains after all.
They are loaded with Omega-3 essential fatty acids, a vital nutrient many of our diets are deficient in. A lack in Omega-3s can contribute to hyperactivity in children, PMS, difficulty getting pregnant or carrying to full term, prostate problems, auto-immune dysfunctions, depression, & inflammation [University of Maryland, Medical Center]. Read this recipe post by Sarah Britton, a holistic nutritionist, for a simplified version about how Omega-3s & our brains work together.
Walnuts do not seem to be very popular for nut butters. They can taste slightly bitter, but I have found a couple tricks for cutting this: toasting & salt. My current batch is raw though, & it is not too bitter for me. Usually the first time I make a raw version, I don't like it as much as the toasted (which is the case now). Interestingly, my taste usually shifts though: now, I only really like raw almond butter. We'll see if I stick to raw walnut butter. Many caution about toasting walnuts because it destroys or at least diminishes the Omega-3 fatty acid content of the nut. I snack on plenty of raw walnuts & try not to worry too much about roasting them at my oven’s lowest temperature. I do not stress about removing all of the skins; but if they flake off during toasting, I will separate them out. I think leaving them out helps with the bitterness too. I don’t know why sea salt seems to help, but adding a couple substantial pinches to the food processor goes a long way in balancing out the bitterness as well.
Because walnut butter has such a distinct flavor, I only eat a little at a time. This helps keep my nut butter addiction at bay.
I started making these nut butters for their decadent taste, but the nutritional benefits don’t hurt.
There are endless “recipes” online for making nut butter, this post isn’t meant as one more to add to the bunch. I wanted to share an idea I thought some of you might enjoy as well, because these have been fantastic. Mixing up the nuts you use is not only fun but a way to ensure you get all of the various nutrients different nuts offer. Has anyone tried macadamia butter? This might be next on my list.
For those who might like instructions:
Blend nuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until creamy nut butter forms. That’s it! Some nuts (like walnuts) take only a couple minutes; others (like pistachios) take longer.