Ben used to have a peanut allergy and we're still wary of giving him peanut butter. I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter anyway because peanuts are so acidic and the state of the guts in our family is tenuous at the best of times. That leaves me with almond butter, or sunflower seed butter, and both are pretty expensive.
The other day I was doing the supermarket shop and as I approached the spreads aisle I had a thought. How hard can it be to make a nut or seed butter? Super easy as it turns out.
This morning I made a jar of almond and sunflower seed butter while I was making the kids their breakfast. It takes no time at all and the taste is amazing - nutty, sweet, salty and none of that gluggy oily taste. And have you ever read the ingredients on the back of a peanut butter jar? Some of the things you may find listed are: icing sugar, sugar, mono-diglycerides, and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Making my own means I can use organic seeds and nuts if I choose to, for a fraction of the cost of a store bought organic spread. It also means I can control the amount of salt I use and I can keep it sugar free.
For this batch I used 200g of raw sunflower seeds and a handful of raw almonds with the skin on. When you're buying your nuts and seeds make sure they are unsalted, unroasted, and have no additives.
Place your nuts/seed mix on a tray and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or until golden brown. You'll have to shake the tray every few minutes to stop them burning, and they do catch quite quickly.
Once they're nice and golden let them cool for a bit before blending them up. They'll turn to a powder first and then if you take it a step further the mix will start to form a paste as the oils in the nuts are released. I add a bit of oil to loosen it up, I like to use almond oil. Peanuts are naturally oily but almonds and seeds are less so, so I find it does need a bit of oil to turn it from a paste to a spread. I like mine a bit salty so I also add a small pinch of sea salt.
Once you're happy with the consistency and taste pop it into a jar and refrigerate. Yum!