Sunday, January 25, 2009

Peanut Butter ~ From Scratch

In light of the recent peanut butter snafu, I decided to adventure into making our own... as a prelude to maybe growing our own peanuts this year. My kids eat nearly 60 pounds of peanut butter a year. I have no idea HOW they consume that much, but they do. I've been tracking it.

We started with a a 2 pound bag of roasted, unsalted peanuts from the Seed & Feed store. It was $4.45 for the bag. Emma, Aubrey and I had fun shelling them. We opted to remove the red skins too, but you could leave it on. (I have a few picky eaters and I wasn't sure what they'd say about red flecks in the PB.)

I weighed the peanuts after shelling - 1 lb 6 oz. Popped it into the food processor and added about 3 TBS of oil. Most recipes I've seen call for peanut oil, which I didn't have. So I used canola oil. Veggie oil would work too. Just be aware, you'll need to store it in the fridge. I also added a pinch of salt and about 1 TBS of honey. (The kids are so used to store bought PB which is sweetened, I thought a bit of sweet would help ease the transition.)
I processed it until the processor starting whining, loudly. Spooned it into a container and noted it was about 2 cups. We all did a quick taste test and decided it was VERY peanuty in flavor and sticky too. Reading online recipes comments I discovered that store bought PB has oils as well as other additives to ensure it's not too sticky. Also, if I had opted to process in a blender, it would've been smoother.

Overall, it was very easy to do. But, in the future, I'd like to find a much cheaper source for peanuts. I did pick up a 3 lb bag of shelled, roasted Spanish peanuts for $6. I'll use them to make PB too, but I may opt to not remove all the skins.
Incidentally, in my hunt to learn how to grow them, I read that Virginia peanuts are the largest sized and what is typically found in a grocery store. You can buy raw peanuts and plant them in the spring. I'd like to know if anyone has grown them or have a thought about buying raw to plant. I did several searches for heirloom or organic peanuts, but didn't find exactly what I was looking for. And, I'd love to get info on yields too.
As a bonus, I read that a peanut plant can process nitrogen from the air and deposit into the soil, so it would be an excellent crop to put into rotation following corn.


Karen in Wichita said...

I stuck four peanuts in bare spots in the carrot squares, and they did pretty well considering (late in the season, partial sun, etc.) I mostly got them so the kiddo could see how the plant grew, so wasn't too serious about it. We ended up with three to five mature pods per plant, and lots of immature ones. I have no idea what the normal yield is if they get to grow a full season.

I have the package around here, and can look at the variety - but I got them from Valley, who tends to only stock varieties suitable for local climate, so anything you pick up there should be appropriate.

Patrice Farmer said...

You beat me to it. I'm still picking peanuts to make it. Looks good.

Anonymous said...

When I was in grade 2 we made peanut butter in class as a science experiment. My teacher accidentally bought BBQ flavored peanuts to use. Let's just say that the result was NOT good.

I think I might try making my own peanut butter. We don't eat that much, and when we do it's the 'all-natural' kind, so small batches of homemade would be doable for me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Hot Belly Mama said...

Awesome! What a great thing for kids to be involved in too! Do you think you will be doing that again?

Becc said...

First, I love your blog photo!
Second, I remember making peanut butter as a child.
Third, first time visiting you.
and last but not least!
How are you doing with the Dave Ramsey program!?
We had our first class on Monday.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Karen ~ The gals at Valley must be getting real tired of me showing up every week to see what's new in their seed selection. Any idea where they come from?

Patrice ~ I went ahead and made a batch with the skins on, but I used the blender. OH, and I crunched them up first using the hand cranked chopper. Turned out okay, just a darker color with the red specks in there.

Amber ~ Okay, yuck! I hadn't thought about flavored PB, but I do like the idea of honey flavored. Next time, we'll add more honey to ours.

Hot Belly Mama ~ We absolutely are doing this again. We've got a part of the garden set aside for growing peanut plants. I think we need a few acres to grow all that we consume. LOL

Becc ~ Thanks for stopping by! Dave's program is a must for us. We did the online version and are now in the process of starting a group at our church. How did your first class go?

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Thanks for this great info! I saw peanuts in my seed catalog the other day and wondered if they can be grown in Kansas OK. We usually just plant the same old tomatoes, cucumbers, etc in our garden, now I want to plant some peanuts, my husband won't see this one coming!