The weekend before last we visited my dad and stepmom in southern Oregon, returned their truck we had borrowed, and did a project in the kitchen while we were there. One time I brought them some jars of the sprouted hazelnut coconut oil spread (long name) or nut butter (short name) I enjoy making. My dad raved about it and asked me to make him more. That made me so happy. I thought it would be fun if we made it together and for Christmas (or his birthday, I’m forgetting) I gave him a coupon for a nut butter making session. (Don’t all daughters give their dads coupons for that? Ha!)
This time, rather than getting hazelnuts, I got almonds. I picked them up at Hummingbird Wholesale in Eugene (it’s still a fairly new discovery for me, I love that place!) (By the way, are any of you local friends part of a buying club with them? I’ve been looking into it.) Their sprouted almonds were on sale, so I didn’t even need to do my usual soaking method before making the nut butter.
We started with a bag of almonds, some coconut oil, and some honey (+ a food processor) and ended up with jars of delicious almond butter. (The coconut oil link is an affiliate link to my very favorite coconut oil of all time, which I’ve mentioned before here.) We used the same general recipe I shared here before for hazelnut spread, except that the almonds were already salted so the recipe didn’t need any salt. Also, I’ve found that almonds, being sweeter than hazelnuts, require less honey when making the nut butter. We did something fun and added some cocoa powder to a few batches, which turned out really good!
With the extra jars we weren’t going to eat right away, we were able to freeze. That was a wonderful thing to discover- that you can freeze nut butter! (Remember to leave some head space in your jars for the ones you are going to freeze. The jars pictured were destined for the fridge, so we filled them to the top.) It was great to make so many batches all at once, and in the future I definitely want to do it that way. Making it as a group was so much more enjoyable too, in addition to being quicker to make and quicker to clean up. We saved money by making it ourselves, and in my opinion the taste was in a realm of it’s own.
We have a tradition of going blueberry picking every summer with my dad and stepmom, and my dad suggested we start a new tradition of having a nut-butter-making-party every winter. I said a big YES to that idea! (Though we realized it would need to happen more often than once per year to keep us stocked in nut butter.) My dad (a goofball, he passed it down to me) cracked us all up when he announced, in the middle of our efforts in the kitchen, that he was “Bob Baker! Nut Butter Maker!” He did seem to have a special knack for it… 🙂
Jeff just shared an article with me (What 15 Almonds a Day Can Do For You) about some of the health benefits of eating almonds and I found it really interesting, so thought I would share. (One caveat: I’d definitely stick with organic after learning about some of the processing methods! And if you are concerned about the water usage California almonds require, Oregon hazelnuts are a great option. We continue to enjoy almonds, though not as our sole nut source.)
Something else I felt like mentioning: I know coconut oil has gotten a lot of bad press recently and I’ve been hearing people say they are afraid to eat it now, which saddens me. I love coconut oil and believe it to be an incredible health food. In case any of you are interested in reading it, Chris Kresser wrote an informative article about the topic here, Dr. Mercola wrote about it here, Mark Sisson goes into it here, and Wellness Mama has an article about coconut oil in general here.
But back to the nut butter… since our kitchen session, we’ve been eating a spoonful of nut butter out of the jar here and there for a quick snack. We’ve enjoyed it on apple slices for years, but most recently have been spreading it on bananas (with a few raisins, basically ants on a log– but with bananas rather than celery) for a sweet treat. I love that it’s not only delicious, but healthy too. My dad loves his on toast. What are your favorite ways to eat nut butter?
On another note: I had a reader write to me recently saying that she wanted to easily print some of the recipes I’ve shared here, but since there is no copy and paste option on my blog, she had to resort to writing them all down by hand. I’m aware of the problem, and I apologize to those of you who have struggled with that. I tried to use a recipe card plugin years back to make it easy for you all to print recipes, but it didn’t work. My next plan was to include a link in each post to a pdf with the recipe, to easily print. That’s still the plan, though it’s a time consuming task for me to do that for all the recipes I’ve shared here, so I’ve decided to do it a recipe at a time. There is now a pdf file for you to download at the bottom of the Hazelnut Spread recipe post, it’s a start! (It’s nothing fancy, just an excerpt from the blog post with the recipe, but I was proud to create a pdf file all by myself. The next ones may or may not be fancier.) Are there any other recipes here that are your particular favorites that you would like to see in an easy-to-print format? If so, please let me know, that way I can prioritize which recipes to focus on first. I always appreciate hearing from you, thanks!