Minnesota Cooking: Making Peanut Butter Using a Grinder
When you purchase peanut butter at the store, you are able to choose whether you want smooth peanut butter or chunky, sweet or unsalted, organic or otherwise. Well, suppose you want to control your peanut butter process even more.
That's what happened. I decided to buy a machine to make my own peanut butter. You'll discover the perks of having your own machine as soon as you open the instruction manual and find that there is a world of possibilities now at your fingertips.
Of course, I wanted peanut butter today. It was a simple process. I had to buy a jar of lightly salted peanuts, which we purchased a one pound jar at Fleet Farm. Lightly salted and dry roasted. Not honey roasted. Not raw. Not salted. Just lightly salted dry roasted.
The peanuts actually have the same ingredients as the peanut butter that I buy. You would think that peanuts would only have peanuts and salt listed on the label. Nope. There's sugar, and cornstarch and oil and salt and papricka - all sorts of things that I wasn't expecting to see.
Ah, well. This is what I'm using.
Naked and Afraid
Before I purchased the machine, I had looked up peanut butter machines and found that they were quite expensive. Prices ranging from $80 to $200 for a machine.
Really? Well. At my local stores, I thought I'd seen one for under forty dollars and told my hubby that I wished to get one. We went to Fleet Farm and there was a machine there for under fifty dollars and we put it in our cart.
Machine Home Now
I brought the machine home and unpacked it. Looking for recipes online and looking at my book. There were a few tips and suggestions and I looked at the reviews for the machine.
The reviewers were mostly crabby people who posted very negative reviews. There was one person who posted a joyful account of her purchase and said that it was what she needed and was happy.
I was hopeful that my experience would be positive.
Well. I knew that the machine was a glorified grinder. Limited as such and wasn't expecting to get a super creamy version like what you get in the stores.
Realistically, upon reading the labels of what you get in the stores, all you are getting in the stores is a peanut butter jam or gravy. It's a peanut butter sludge.
I wasn't expecting that from this machine.
Pre-Crushing Your Nuts
The instructions warned that you should pre-cut your nuts, especially if you wanted the machine to work smoothly and not plug up.
So, I filled a gallon sized ziplock bag with the nuts and put them on the floor and stepped on them. I tried to squish all the nuts into smaller pieces.
I was satisfied that I got the majority of them broke down.
Hopper, Oiler, Grinder
It's all pretty basic. You have your hopper, full of crushed nuts. You have your oiler, which inserts oil into the center of your project and mixes with the natural moisture in your peanuts, and you have the grinder that squashes and mixes your nuts and oil together into a thick mass.
I was so afraid that my machine would stop in the middle of things and that it would plug up.
Nope. I put my nuts in the hopper, poured some oil in the dispenser, turned the machine on and seconds later I saw a ribbon of peanut butter coming out the spout into my waiting jar.
I had prepared four small, one cup glass jars, for catching the peanut butter. Basically, I placed one under the spout and kept switching the jars until the peanut machine was done squirting out ribbons.
It didn't take very long to accomplish. My hubby came out to the kitchen when the machine stopped running and tasted some of the peanut butter. He had chosen the type of peanuts that we purchased and discovered that the flavor was, in his words, lacking flavor.
It needed something. Sweetness. The recipe called for some honey, so I dumped all the peanut butter into a bowl and started adding Clover honey to it. I added about a quarter cup of honey to the peanuts, stirred it around and walked to my hubby and had him taste it.
Better? Yes. That made a difference.
You are supposed to store the butter in the refrigerator since it will turn rancid if you leave it in the cupboard at room temperature.
It will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
I doubt that it will last a week.
I will be making more.
The machine is designed to grind nuts into butters. Well. I have had different nut butters, like Nutella, and that is what I will make next time. Nutella is that delicious combination of hazelnut and chocolate. You eat it on a sweet cracker stick or you just use it like peanut butter.
Later, since I have access to black walnuts, I will make some black walnut butter spreads. That should be a delicious treat.