Peanut butter is a grad student’s best friend. Raise your hand if you’ve got a big ol’ jar of it at your desk. Raise the other if you’ve ever eaten it straight out of the jar with a spoon (or your hand, Winnie the Pooh style, we don’t judge). It’s there when we’re stressed. It’s there when we need a bit of extra fuel. It’s especially there when we’ve got an apple that needs a nice glob of PB on every bite. Peanut butter definitely deserves a shout out in my thesis acknowledgements.
Peanut butter as it’s meant to be is quite healthy (low cabs, high healthy fats, etc). It can become problematic when companies add sugar, excessive sodium, full or partially hydrogenated oils, or even non-hydrogenated oils like palm oil. It’s also often packaged in plastic. As part of my efforts to live a healthier lifestyle for me and our planet, I started searching for products that had limited ingredients and came packaged in glass. You may have guessed these were a bit more expensive! The game changer for my husband and I came with the purchase of a new, mondo-powerful blender! We’d tried making our own peanut butter before and nearly destroyed our hand-me-down blender.
But now there’s no holding us back. Our homemade peanut butter is way more delicious than store-bought. We find the ingredients in bulk and in glass so there’s no plastic waste. If you’d like to try and make your own you can follow the general recipe below. Get creative! Let us know how it goes!
We try to get as many of our ingredients in bulk (package-free!) and/or locally. Having a Wegmen’s with a bulk section and lots of farmers markets around town is fantastic. We’ve experimented a LOT with different flavors and nuts/legumes to add. I’m including lot of options here, but feel free to follow your heart and try out lots of different versions!
- Peanuts (ours are organic, roasted)
- Salt (optional)
- Honey (optional, local)
- Cinnamon (optional, but seriously go for it!)
- Oil (optional but useful, we’ve used olive oil and walnut oil)
- Walnuts (optional)
- Pecans (optional)
- Cashews (optional)
- Pumpkin seeds (optional)
- Cacao nibs (optional)
- 100% dark cooking chocolate (optional, but life-changing)
- Apples (a.k.a. fruit shovels to bring the delicious PB to your mouth, local) (Editor’s Note: Also try bananas or carrots!)
The key tool is having a blender strong enough to handle crushing all the peanuts! These high powered blenders can be very expensive. If you’re looking to invest, ask around about buying a used one from a family member or friend. Another great avenue is to look for a refurbished blender.
(Editor’s note: I strongly support the purchase of refurbished electronics).
- Blender with a tamper (here’s what we use)
- Measuring Cup
- Reusable jars for storage
- Spatula for scraping ever last bit out of the pitcher into your
This Week’s Recipe
The recipe changes week-to-week so here’s how the process went down today.
- Add 1.5 cups of peanuts, ~1 Tbs of cinnamon, 1 Tbs of honey, and a sprinkling of cocoa nibs.
- Turn blender on low (manual setting) to crush and mix.
- Add another 1.5 cups of peanuts, 1/2 cup of walnuts, 1/2 cup of pumpkin seed.
- Blend on low to crush.
- Set blender to ‘Nut Butter’ setting. Use tamper to push down the mixture. Push down too much perhaps and make the blender turn off. (I think if the motor works too hard it automatically shuts off. Nice safety feature!)
- Remove pitcher, mix up the blend a bit, add 2 Tbs of walnut oil to help prevent future shutdowns.
- Run Nut Butter setting to completion. Remember you wanted to add some salt (to taste) and while you’re at it add more cacao nibs.
- Rerun Nut Butter setting, use tamper to ensure mixing (the blend will creep up the sides).
- Cut up your taste testing apple. The PB will still be warm. Brace yourself for having your mind blown.
- (If applicable) Bring an apple slice with PB to your partner. My husband might leave me if I don’t share the taste testing apples.
- Add another 1.5 cups of peanuts. You went a little overboard on the cacao nibs.
- Another round of the Nut Butter setting, and voila! Perfection.
- Double, triple, quadruple check the taste with your apple slices.
- Clean up your mess. PRO TIP: make a smoothie in the blender with the bits of PB you couldn’t get out!
If you’ve enjoyed this helpful Eco-inspiration piece be sure to check out others! We’ve got many listed on our Semi-Organized Blog Archive. Often they are tagged with key words such as DIY, Eco-Inspiration, Eco-Life Hacks, farmer’s market, food, home cooking, and kitchen magic. Other homemade recipes we love are for yogurt and stock from kitchen scraps. You can also keep an eye on our Instagram stories for more behind the scenes pictures/videos of this process!