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DIY: Make Your Own Nut Butter

Ever since I saw the grind your own nut butter machines at Fresh Market, I wanted to make my own peanut butter. It's simple in its truest form. What are the ingredients? Peanuts. That's it. No hydrogenated vegetable oil, no sugar, no molasses, no mono and diglycerides and no salt.

Making your own peanut butter is simple as long as you have a food processor. In a matter of 2 or 3 minutes, it will transform your crunchy peanuts into a smooth spread. Attach the chopping blade and start with no more than 3 cups of nuts for a 7 quart work bowl. Hit the on button to process, and after about 1 to 1 ½ minutes you'll notice the nuts forming into a ball. Keep the machine running, and it will begin to smooth out. The longer you process, the softer and creamier the butter. If a crunchy nut butter is desired, add a handful of nuts just after the ball of nut butter begins to smooth out.

You don't have to just stick with peanuts. Try making almond, hazelnut, pistachio or even a mixture of nut butters. For deeper flavor, toast the nuts in a skillet over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes before processing. Homemade nut butters aren't going to taste the same as their commercial counterpart. They'll be a little nuttier and may be less sweet and salty. Since homemade nut butters have no hydrogenated oils, there is no artery clogging trans fats. However, because there are no hydrogenated oils, oil separation may occur. Store in the refrigerator and stir as needed. If you want to get adventurous, try adding cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger or cloves. If needed, you may add a pinch of salt or sweeten with honey, maple syrup or sugar substitute. But I prefer my nut butter to be like me: simply nutty!

Homemade Nut Butter

2 ½ cups nuts

In a 7-cup food processor with the chopping blade attached, pour nuts into work bowl. Press the ON button to process continuously. Process until smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Yield: 1 ½ cup nut butter

Nutrition analysis per 2 Tablespoon serving (using lightly salted roasted peanuts): 130 calories, 11 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 70 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 6 grams protein

This post came from Jenna Smith, a registered dietitian, is a nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.