Saturday, January 24, 2009

Grind Your Own

Peanut butter, that is. As far as Meg Favreau is concerned, the recent salmonella scare is just one reason to make it yourself. Here again I must say that the jars of peanut butter we buy in stores have not been implicated in the scare. Her point is valid nonetheless.

In the U.S., peanut butters are only required to consist of 90 percent peanuts. I didn't realize what a huge difference that other 10 percent could make until I recently compared fresh, homemade peanut butter to the regular jarred stuff. I compared heaping spoonfuls of the peanut butter I’d made with Peter Pan brand, and that's when I realized that while I like peanut butter, and I like peanuts, I had never expected peanut butter to taste like peanuts before. Despite my positive, nostalgic memories of peanut butter, I considered it a spread in a category all its own, something that was invented as a food glue. But homemade peanut butter, while being a little grainier and a little thicker, really tastes like peanuts. It brings a bright peanut flavor to sandwiches, cookies, and snacks.

Not only is making peanut butter incredibly simple, but it's also easy to make your own “gourmet” flavors. Sometimes I like to add a tablespoon of honey to the mix, and you could just as easily add hot pepper flakes, melted chocolate, or maple syrup.

1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
Combine peanuts, oil, and salt in food processor. Blend until smooth.
Store in a tightly lidded container in the fridge.