Monday, September 1, 2008

Natural Peanut Butter

I grew up with peanut butter. My mom made the best PB&J sandwiches. Often, we'd have blackberry jam or raspberry jam made from berries that we (read: my parents) picked. My favorite was when mom made it on Oroweat Oatnut bread. They were, at the time, a large local Seattle bakery that sold to the grocery stores ... now, I think they sell all over.

Mom liked to buy Adam's peanut butter. I was a natural peanut butter. Ingredients: peanuts, salt. We had to stir it before use because the oil would separate. So very yummy.

Over the years, I'd buy peanut butter at the health food stores when I could. Pick up a pound or two of roasted peanuts and use their grinder. Fresh, good, nothing bad for you in it (besides the fatty goodness found in peanuts).

After a while of being in the Philippines, I started to crave a little peanut butter. I tried a couple of local brands. They were bad. Well, not bad. Really quite awful.

I recently looked at the ingredients lists on them. One has a nice, simple ingredients list. Listed in plain English ... how very kind. Proudly, the number two and three ingredients are Dextrose and Sucrose ... ah, sugars. No wonder the thing tastes sickly sweet. Oh, and right after that? Hydrogenated vegetable oil. That's a nice code-phrase for "trans fats inside". No thanks!

The other brand ... not quite so user friendly. Many of their ingredients are, again, in plain English. But a few ... words so long and complex that I couldn't pronounce them if I tried. Even with nearly two years of college chemistry and a full year of just studying Greek and Latin roots to words. Yes, long and nasty chemical names.

As I advance in my years, I've gotten lazy. I used to look those up out of curiosity. I'm no longer so curious. I just translate long chemical allegedly-eatable food names to "industrial goo" or "slow poison".

Oh, did I mention that neither local brand really tastes like peanuts? Or, that they seem to have so much sugar that they should be relabeled as "peanut-flavored sugar paste"? Not only that, they're relatively expensive.

At the local mercado (open-air market), there's a gentleman who spends his day grinding peanut butter. He's got a little stall and he grinds your roasted nuts for you as you wait. The price is very reasonable (P10 per kilo) and it's fun to watch.

Roasting some peanuts and getting fresh peanut butter? Oh yes ... I must.

  • 1-1/2 kilograms peanuts

Spread the peanuts out on a roasting pan. Bake them at 350F (175C) for about 10-15 minutes.

Let cool.

Take to the mercado (market) and pay the friendly peanut grinder to grind them for you.



Test Results

Primary Test Group: Very peanutty! Yum! Marasa! Delicious!

Potential Improvements

The results were very, very good. Room for improvement? Little.

I might try adding a little bit of salt next time. Not a lot, as I don't want to ruin the great peanut flavor.


So easy. No excuse for me not to do this. Given that the cost to grind is P10 (about US$0.22) per kilo, there's no excuse not to get peanut butter this way. That makes the peanut butter P95 (US$2.16) per kilo.

Very reasonable by any measure ... and really very good.

Again, it's worth taking the little bit of extra time to make it myself. So glad I did.


Liz said...

That sounds fabulous. I love natural peanut butter! I get the Trader Joe's brand (just salt and peanuts) and could never go back to eating the processed junk. I remember when I lived in England and could only get local peanut butter--it was an abomination. Glad you've found a way to get real peanut butter--and cheaply, too!

James said...

Salt and peanuts, sounds perfect! When I was down at the grinder, another woman was making peanut butter and had added powdered milk and sugar. Yuck! I want that natural peanut flavor! And, a little salt never hurt.