Nut Butters are a very interesting culinary invention. They are simply made by grinding nuts into a paste until it forms a thick and rich consistency, or light and runny mixture. It depends on the consumers’ preference but most of the nut butter is thick and creamy. You can choose any nuts when making Nut Butters but they have a different texture and consistency than peanut butter.
The great debate between Nut Butter and the more commonly-loved Peanut Butter exists because people argue on health benefits, fat content, taste, and the overall experience. In all its glory, while some Nut Butters are considered as just mere food trends, the most common nut butter, Almond Butter, is considered to be one of the healthiest nut butter available in the market. You can definitely add Almond Butter to your homemade specialties.
Nut Butter Trivia
- The United States annually observes National Nut Day on October 22.
- Peanuts, pecans, almonds, and walnuts are some of the most consumed nuts in the United States.
- Pecan trees are the State Tree of Texas, that’s why Pecans are considered to be their official nut as well.
Nut Butter Buying Guide
Here’s the thing about Nut Butters: There’s just too many of them in the market. While those bottles of Nut Butters are so scrumptious and inviting, choose the nut butter with the best taste and compacted nutrition content.
Choose the nut that would best suit your taste. Remember that if you love that nut, then you would certainly love the Nut Butter as well. For instance, nuts butter can consist of Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Cashews, Macadamias, and even Pine Nuts.
After you have chosen the type of nut butter that you will purchase, carefully examine the ingredients and assess if they’re loaded with chemicals such as artificial food coloring, preservatives, trans-fat or saturated fat, and other harmful ingredients.
Finally, you can choose to buy nut butter depending on the consistency that’s best for you. Choose between smooth and creamy or chunky and crunchy.
Nut Butter Production & Farming in Texas
Growing nuts in Texas can be easy their fertile landscape and weather in general. Several kinds of nuts can be grown in both warm and cold climates. Nuts suited for warm climates include cashews, pistachios, macadamias, and almonds; while nuts grown in the colder regions include walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.
Black Walnuts are one of the most common crops grown in the Northern and Southern regions of Texas. They thrive in sunny regions with deep and well-drained soils. Their abundance makes them one of the most commonly foraged nuts in Texas.
Preservatives and Chemicals
First of all, let’s talk about the safety of nut butter. Many people are allergic to nuts and those with a severe nut allergy cannot be exposed to nut butter because their scent and taste are just irresistible.
Nut butter also contains some chemicals and preservatives that will trigger other food allergies. Nut butter is also mixed with a lot of salt and sugar that gives you’re the sweet and salty flavors. However, too much salt or sugar can affect those with urinary and digestive issues. Aside from that, nut butter contains hydrogenated oils which contribute to the half-solid, half-liquid texture and consistency. But hydrogenated oils contain too much trans-fat which can lead to weight gain and obesity, liver and kidney disease, digestive issues, cardiovascular issues, and even cancer.
Nut butter should be packed in sterilized jars. Allow them to cool first before capping and sealing to avoid spoiling condensation, or oxidation. Nut butter is also used to treat malnutrition because it is full of protein and nutrients. In this case, nut butter is foil packed and vacuum-sealed to release air and prevent oxidization.
Enjoying Nut Butter
You can be simply basic or very creative when eating nut butter. You can just spread it over buttered toast, pancakes, or even waffles. Use it as fillings for cupcakes and cakes, or add some whipped cream or cream cheese frosting to make some nut butter icing. Just make sure to find the golden ratio where you can still enjoy the lightness of the whipped cream without the overpowering flavors of the nut butter. On a savorier note, nut butter can be used as dipping sauces for fried rolls, or as a dressing for Asian noodles and salads.
It’s not ideal to store nut butter in the fridge. Keep the nut butter in a dark and dry place. When scooping, always use a clean spoon and avoid double-dipping to prevent contamination. Always tightly seal the nut butter as air can lead to contamination. The growth of molds and other bacteria will spoil the nut butter making it unsafe for consumption.
3 cups raw (or sprouted) nuts (my favorites = almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts // organic unpasteurized when possible)
Sea salt to taste (~1/2 tsp as original recipe is written)
Vanilla extract (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and add raw nuts to the baking sheet. If sprouted, nuts won’t need as long to roast and benefit from a 5-8 minute roast at a lower temperature (325 F or 162 C). Roast raw nuts for 8-12 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly golden brown.
NOTE: You can also leave nuts raw, but the only ones that taste good raw in my opinion are cashews and almonds.
- If roasting hazelnuts, remove from the oven once toasted and transfer them to a clean dish towel. Rub the hazelnuts against one another using the towel to remove the skins (see photo). Removing most of the skins is preferred (not all will come off).
- Add roasted nuts to a food processor or blender and blend/mix until a creamy butter forms. The nuts should go from whole, to meal, to clumps, to creamy nut butter. This can take up to 10-12 or more minutes so be patient. Scrape down sides as needed.
- Once creamy, add salt (or other add-ins) to taste. Then transfer to a clean jar or container and store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks (sometimes longer).
NOTE: Other variations include Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Hazelnut Butter, Almond Joy Butter, and Super Seedy Sunflower Butter.