It wasn’t that long ago that the only readily available ‘nut butter’ was peanut butter, which is funny because peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts! These days the world of nut butters has opened up and you can find almond, macadamia and cashew butters (to name just a few) at most larger supermarkets.
Apart from being delicious, nut butters are also packed full of essential nutrients and provide a healthy protein kick. The problem is that many nut butters available in jars at the supermarket are packed full of sodium and other preservatives which we don’t need.
The good news? Nut butters are incredibly easy to make, and you can tailor them to suit your own tastes!
Firstly though, it is important to prepare your nuts. I personally opt to soak my nuts before using them, though this isn’t essential. The reason I opt to do this is because they contain substances such as phytic acid, tannins and goitrogens that work to protect the nut whilst they are growing, but unfortunately these same substances inhibit the absorption of many of the essential nutrients, including calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Soaking the nuts releases these substances and makes the nuts not only more easy to digest and nutritionally beneficial, it also makes them taste better too!
The problem with soaking nuts to make nut butter, is that you need to dehydrate them after soaking and it is important to discard the water you used for soaking. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven. Do this by keeping the temperature very low (about 50-60 degrees C) and turning them occasionally over the course of about 12 hours, until dry and crisp.
Here is a simple recipe (one that you can tailor to your own taste buds), that you can follow to make your own delicious nut butter.
What you need:
- 2-4 cups raw/soaked and dehydrated nuts of your choice (please note that brazil and pistachio nuts do not need to be soaked and that all nuts can be dry roasted a little to enhance their flavour).
- 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil.
- 1/2 tsp extra fine sea salt (optional)
- 1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
Making the magic:
- Blend the nuts/seeds in a large food processor until they form a fine powder
- Add your coconut butter (and optional salt, coconut sugar) and continue to blend for a further 2-10 minutes.
- Your nut butter should be forming a creamy paste as the natural oils from the nuts are released. If not it is okay to add a little more coconut oil to help the process.
- Once done, scoop into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
- Enjoy on vegetable sticks, crackers, toast or even just by the spoonful!