Home Made Salt-Roasted-Honey-Peanut-Butter, 88p

It won’t come as news to some, that I am a peanut butter fanatic. Both of my published books feature it heavily, from peanut butter bread and hot chocolate in A Year In 120 Recipes to frozen yoghurts and satays and those adorable thumbprint cookies in A Girl Called Jack. As far back as I can remember into my childhood, I would spoon peanut butter from the jar – just one teaspoon, and replace the lid, my snack of choice, and a slurp of milk to wash it from the roof of my mouth.

Lately I have been trying to make better decisions about my shopping, from free range to FairTrade, without compromising the budget side of my blog that I know is so important to my readers. I try to strike a balance, between ethical choices and necessities, and have often come under fire for choosing free range eggs or FairTrade bananas – I do genuinely understand that sometimes there is no luxury of choice, if your finances are hacked back to the bone then your priority is to feed yourself and your family. I get that, I really do. So I don’t tell people what they ‘should’ be doing, because I don’t dare, I mean, I’m a stubborn filly myself and if someone tells me sanctimoniously that I ‘should’ do something then my instinct is to dig my heels in and do the opposite!! I just talk about what I do, and why, and have generally found my blog and Facebook page to be a much more supportive community because of it. Often it comes down to choosing your values – do you value free range over organic, or organic over FairTrade? Because it’s hard to have it all. I believe the little choices matter. In the last few years I have seen barn eggs go from taking up an entire supermarket shelf, to being a small sad thing at the bottom tucked out of the way. Free range has become so commonplace that the margin between happy eggs and sad eggs is negligible. In some supermarkets all of their bananas, from the Basics range upwards, are FairTrade. Good choices are easier than ever. And those that are in a position to make those choices far outweigh those who have to buy products that they may not agree with in a perfect world.

I had a few messages this week from readers about peanut butter, which is what this is really about. People buying the cheapest varieties and ‘turning a blind eye’ to the Palm Oil added to them. I don’t know enough about palm oil to be able to get up on a soapbox about it, but I’ve seen enough sad orangutans and photographs of devastation and deforestation for it to make me feel distinctly uneasy. So I’m trying to avoid it. Sadly, it seems to have snuck into everything over the last few years; where Sunflower Oil was once the lubricant of choice, now if you look closely at the ingredients lists on the backs of packets of sauces and dips and all sorts of goodies, there’s the palm oil. And especially cheap peanut butter. I once sat on the floor in my local supermarket examining all of the jars of peanut butter, looking for one that didn’t have palm oil in. I laid them all on the floor (asked twice by a member of staff if I was ‘alright there, Miss?’), and scrutinised the backs. When I had the few jars that contained sunflower or peanut oil, I calculated the cost per gram to find the cheapest one. It was, for the record, Sun Pat Crunchy, at three times the price of the Basics brand. I bought it, and used it for my recipes.

And on Monday, shopping in the supermarket, I spied a bag of salted peanuts, 70p for 200g. I remembered my friend Andree once proudly presenting me with a jar of peanut butter she had made herself in her blender. I bought the peanuts, determined to bypass the palm oil problem and present an affordable solution for my readers. So here we are:

  


Makes a 275g jar of peanut butter for 88p:


200g peanuts, 70p (Sains Basics salted peanuts 70p/200g)

50ml sunflower oil, 6p (£4/3l)

2 tbsp honey, 12p (Basics honey £1/340g)

The Basics peanuts are rather salty, but cheaper for it. I started by roasting mine in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes to deepen the flavour.
Remove from the oven and tip into a bowl, and cover with cold water. This will soften them to make them easier to blend, and remove some of the salt. Leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.
Drain the peanuts and rinse thoroughly, and tip them into a blender. I used an ordinary jug blender for this, which gave a crunchy, textured peanut butter. If you are one of the lucky people who has a food processor, that would be my equipment of choice, but a blender does the job. Add the oil to loosen it – you may need to stop-start your blender and scrape the peanuts from the sides and mix it up a bit a few times.
Blend until the peanuts have broken down and are staring to form a paste, and then tip into a bowl. I added honey to sweeten – I toyed with the idea of using coconut oil instead of sunflower to sweeten it but my 5 year old son despises coconut, so I opted for a sunflower oil and honey combo instead.
And voila. Spoon into a jar and press down, and enjoy. I made mine fairly runny with extra oil so I could store it in the fridge, as I didn’t use a sterilised jar – as this is a first time experiment I’m not sure what the shelf life is but at a wild guess it would keep for 4 weeks in the fridge, I’ll report back if it’s wildly different to that.
And there you go. Home made cheap peanut butter, as crunchy or as smooth as you like, with no sad orangutans. Enjoy.
Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter & Instagram @MsJackMonroe and if you like my blog then you might just like my book, which is available from http://www.hive.co.uk/book/a-girl-called-jack-100-delicious-budget-recipes/18105011/

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44 Comments »

  1. Lovely! If anyone is into making their own nut milk (where you soak nuts in water then blend and sieve) you can use the ‘meal’ left once the water has been drained to make nut butter by roasting and blending as above. Two birds with one stone- milk and nut butter. YUMMMMMMMM x

  2. So, this palm oil business is a little tricky. I was surprised that Sun Pat comes out on top and decided to look at the jar of peanut butter in my cupboard. I tend to buy Whole Earth, more expensive but I believed the manufacturers to have ethical concerns both in matters of manufacture and taste. Palm oil is indeed listed as an ingredient. I had a look at their website and they claim to be a member of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil. As its name suggests, this is attempting to ensure that palm oil is made with due regard for environmental concerns. It all gets very complicated, with claims that if palm oil is not used, then vegetable oil production will go up resulting in similar environmental concerns. But it does beg the question as to why palm oil is necessary for peanut butter. I remember going into the Neal’s Yard Wholefood warehouse, in the early 80s, and watching them make a variety of nut butters. The smell was heavenly – roasted nuts just ground down to a paste. The taste was almost as good. No oil in sight, except for the oil from the nuts. I have tried to duplicate the result, using a food processor and agree that some oil is necessary. Neal’s Yard had a special grinder so did not require the extra oil. I would have thought that commercial operations would also be able to grind the nuts without the addition.

  3. I could clamber on my soapbox and bore the socks off you about palm oil plantations, deforestation, destruction of local biodiversity and, last but not least, the loss of habitat for my family’s sponsored orang utans …
    I could but I won’t …

    But home-made peanut butter, now that does deserve cheer!
    Since I am currently treating food as medicine and scrutinising everything that I eat, I’m in favour of anything that can be made at home.

    Nice one Jack!
    Nuts to peanut butter 🙂

  4. can you use vegetable oil? Im a bit naive as to why some oils are used for different things. very excited to try this though 🙂

  5. Great experiment! I am a long-standing PB girl as well and have often wondered how hard it would be to make my own. This looks easy and economical – will definitely give it a try!

  6. Fantastic! I’d almost given up on peanut butter because of the palm oil thing and I’d started looking at ethical organic companies that were too expensive to keep mail ordering from. Is there enough honey in there to create an actual honey flavoured peanut butter or is it just enough to sweeten it Jack?

  7. Thanks Jack,as a peanut butter fan as well, will give it a go..wonder if it will work with a hand mixer?? on a side not, my pet peeve, glucose fructose syrup, it’s in EVERYTHING, along with sugar, baby fruit jars, sweetened yogurt everything…I’m desperate to find one thing that doesn’t have it…

  8. I’m right there with on the peanut butter thing. I make my own a lot and can vouch that it lasts at least 4 weeks in the fridge. Also, I do use coconut oil and it is really nice. It lends a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t need honey. You got my try hot peanut butter chocolate, which became the whole reason for getting back into making peanut butter!

  9. At last! I hope you’re enjoying it.  I’ll try honey next time and the soaking tip, though I like mine salty. From: “JACK MONROE: COOK, CAMPAIGNER, GUARDIAN COLUMNIST, MOTHER, AUTHOR, ETC.” To: pweeds2000@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, 13 May 2015, 16:34 Subject: [New post] Home Made Salt-Roasted-Honey-Peanut-Butter, 88p #yiv4039589271 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4039589271 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4039589271 a.yiv4039589271primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4039589271 a.yiv4039589271primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4039589271 a.yiv4039589271primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4039589271 a.yiv4039589271primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4039589271 WordPress.com | Jack Monroe (MsJackMonroe) posted: “It won’t come as news to some, that I am a peanut butter fanatic. Both of my published books feature it heavily, from peanut butter bread and hot chocolate in A Year In 120 Recipes to frozen yoghurts and satays and those adorable thumbprint cookies in A G” | |

  10. You don’t need to add any oil at all (or sweetening for that matter). If you want a crunchy texture add the peanuts to the blender in two goes. Blend the first lot until it’s smooth and the oil is starting to separate, then add the remaining peanuts and blend until you get the consistency you want.

  11. There is a good Wiki entry on Palm oil http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_oil

    There is evidence that it is bad for several types of heart disease and that it is an undesirable food stuff generally. It is used because 1. It is cheap and 2. It mimics the stability and mouthfeel of Transfats in commercially made food
    The health effects of consuming Palm oil are very controversial. And this is all before the myriad environmental concerns.

    Some of the reasons I try and avoid it

  12. A few years ago I drove for HOURS in Malaysia through endless palm forests, and later found out they were for producing palm oil. Truly, MILLIONS of acres of natural vegetation must have been destroyed to set up these monotonous forests.

    I have a great bag of peanuts I didn’t know what to do with – this looks like a good idea, thanks.

  13. I have not made peanut butter but have made cashew butter using a food processor. Did not add oil at all, or sweetener of any kind, and it was very nice. Simply ground nuts. Such a good, natural flavor.

  14. I have made my own peanut butter for about 5 years, never use a steralised jar and it keeps in the fridge for months. Red skin peanuts make a nice earthy tasting butter. Good on you for saying no to palm oil.

  15. growing up, the dad of a friend of mine would buy big tubs of peanut butter. When they opened them the oil was always floating on top and they had to stir it back in.
    I understand all peanut butters will do this unless they add some additive that prevents it.
    But I do wonder if that brand (that I can’t remember, it was quite obscure) didn’t contain any extra oil and it was just the oil from the nuts.
    I would like to give the recipe a try, but it would be interesting to see what the consistency would be like without any added oil. But then, maybe it would not keep for as long?

  16. Hmmmm been meaning to try making nut butter for ages – I only have oil olive int eh house and its pouring outside and the shops are a long drive – so I will try the oil olive route and let you know what results – either way good or bad it will get eaten x

  17. I made my own pb with a bargain bag of peanuts no sugar bit of veg oil kept in fridge for ages might try roasting them first I am trying to reduce sugars and have never seen the need in pb especially since I make pb sandwiches with jam lol

  18. I love peanut butter too and I got into the no palm oil in the first case because I am dreadfully allergic to it. Like you I thought Sunpat was OK and bought it and wondered why it made me ill. It turned out that the emulsifier was made out of palm oil.
    Vegetable oil often includes palm oil. Roasted peanuts are no good because they are usually done in palm oil. I buy fresh peanuts but they are so hard to find.
    Meridian peanut butter is nice and only made from peanuts but it is expensive, a luxury I can only afford occasionally.
    I console myself with the thought that I am totally orangutan friendly!

  19. I’ve been eating these Basics salted peanuts for years but had a badly over-salted bag recently. I rinsed them off, drained them and then roasted them until dry in a dry frying pan, which produced a nearly unsalted version for virtually no cost.
    Several decades ago, my mother made her own peanut butter in an old Kenwood liquidiser with nothing but roasted peanuts. The only trouble was that it was so good that it never lasted long! No need for a fridge with a bunch of hungry children in the house….

  20. The only thing that stopped me from buying peanut butter without palm oil was the price. So thank you for this recipe – no need for the cheaper one now! I just made this and it’s really tasty. I used a hand blender and it worked just as well.

  21. Just thought I would add that in Tesco their value peanuts are 48p for 200g (unless they have sneaked the price up recently. I am supposed to be on a low salt diet nowadays so not bought peanuts for a couple of months).

    I do like the idea of making my own peanut butter so will have to get the food processor out of the cupboard and have a go!

    Stephanie

  22. excellent,jack,thankyou!I once read somewhere that in america,peanut butter was made just using only peanuts,and like others,i wanted to buy the better,whole earth variety,but compared to the 62p smartprice version there was no way.i often wanted to make my own,and now,thanks to you,i will be doing.bless you jack xxx

  23. Great idea. I have looked around but hadn’t thought of making my own! Meridian peanut butter no salt is ground peanuts only, no oil or anything else. The small jars are quite expensive, but the large tubs (1kg) work out less per 100g than Sun-Pat, Jif and others. And it is surprisingly easy to go through 1kg of peanut butter. Have you tried 3 ingredient PB cookies?? (PB, eggs and sugar only…gluten free?!)

  24. When the children were little (three decades ago now), I used to make my own peanut butter after seeing it made to my request in a then new and different health food shop in Forest Hill. Then I got out of the habit but you have inspired me to start again (once I have use up the two jars I have). Many thanks.
    J x

  25. Just tried the honey salted peanut peanut butter. I did it in an old food processor. It is very grainy and the only way I could get it to be runny, would be to add loads of extra oil, not sure if that’s how you did your Jack? Mine tastes divine though, could just sit down and eat the whole lot.
    Sylviamay

  26. Pooh just got peanut butter for the white chocolate and peanut butter yoghurt – had no idea about palm oil and orangutans or environmental concerns. Shoot! I don’ t think I can eat it now😕

    • Hi Emma! A lot of Palm oil is ‘sustainable’ – I’m just never sure which. In dilemmas like this I weigh up which would be the greater weight on my conscience, eating it or throwing it away – to work out what to do. I’ll give an example – when I had no money, a neighbour gave me a box of barn eggs and a bag of frozen chicken thighs. Neither are things I would choose to buy myself as I believe in free range and high welfare – BUT they were a gift from a well-meaning, kind friend and I think refusing to eat them wouldn’t have improved the lot of the chickens whose thighs were now in my hand! So I ate them and was thankful for my kind neighbour, but didn’t buy them again. I hope that helps xx

  27. I’ve just made this and from a sneaky taste on the spatula I can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow morning!!! Yummy! Thanks Jack. x

  28. One thing: cheap peanut butter is made with Palm Oil, Oil which should be banned! Its grown in de-forested Rainforest, the workers are exploited and once processed, its actually bad for your health! The big brands use (guess what?) peanut Oil! I’d rather pay a little extra and bulk buy when I find it on offer.

  29. Sorry, its already been commented ! Look for Palm Oil in biscuits and cakes as well, also called “Vegetable Fat” to hide it!

  30. I found mine to be really insipid and uninspiring. I used a rather bourgeoisie Magimix food processor, added the peanuts (which I roasted for ten minutes), added the oil and blitzed it all. It was a brittle, crumbly mix. So, I added water as suggested in the comments above and I now have peanut butter ‘tahini’. Does the Magimix perhaps over-blend it? The only other thing I have is a cheap stick blender.

    Pleased to say it’s my first Jack failure from doing socca pizza, pasta and gram pancakes (all terrific).

  31. Had this pinned for a while but only just tried it. Actually managed to get a pretty good texture using a tesco value stick blender (accidentally blended my finger a bit too). I used half peanuts and half sunflower seeds and used rapeseed oil. Tastes brilliant. Thanks

  32. Many people think palm oil is “just” a problem for health or environment, but 9 years ago while visiting Honduras, I drove through hundreds of acres of palm tree forest (maybe even more). A few years before, some rich guy had decided that he needed those lands to grow palm trees and gave an ultimatum to the locals : leaving or getting killed.
    Because of the prospect of money and the fact that those locals were a black community, the government closed their eyes on the annexation and the impending massacre.

    Thank you for bringing solutions to the problem of palm oil Jack, (and sorry for my bad english).

  33. Salted vs. Unsalted peanuts:
    Is it possible to use unsalted peanuts for this recipe? I’ve got a bag which has gone un-crunchy, and I’m trying to use them up!

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