Nut butters are delicious, easy and incredibly satisfying to make. You will need a food processor (or a pestle and mortar if you have hours to spare and need a serious upper body workout). The process is the same for all of these butters.
Once you know how it works you can experiment with flavourings and uses. Try adding cinnamon or mixed spice. You can mix the nuts and try more exotic ones like pistachios or macadamias. They are a great way to play with flavours.
Eat on toast, in smoothies, in baking, in desserts or straight out of the jar with a spoon!
1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Lay the nuts out on a baking tray and lightly toast for 10 minutes. The nuts should start to release their oils but not be browning.
2. Place the nuts in the processor and blitz until the butter starts to form. This can take at least 5 minutes so don't lose patience - a buttery paste will start to emerge from the ground nuts.
3. Add the flavouring ingredients and continue to blitz for another minute.
This creates quite a stiff paste. If you'd rather have a smoother texture add a little flavourless or nut oil.
Nut butters will stay fresh in the fridge for at least 3 weeks. I tend to make quite small batches that are normally eaten within a week or two.
Maple & Walnut Butter
Walnuts are an impressive food stuff. Although superfood is an overused and under-researched term, walnuts score consistently highly in so many tests. They are packed fully of antioxidants, omega-3 and can enrich the gut biome. Although native to the Mediterranean, walnuts can be grown across Britain in a sunny spot. Be warned though that the walnut tree can be huge so if you have limited space be sure to find a dwarf variety.
2tsp maple syrup
Hazelnuts and chocolate are a pairing made in heaven and this nut butter has all the deliciousness of commercial brands. Try a spoonful in your porridge for a delightfully decadent breakfast. Most UK hazelnuts are grown in the South East, the most common variety being the Kentish Cob. Hedge Hazel (Corylus avellana) is a good native hedge plant and has good edible nuts. I use Choc Shot to add sweetness but you may choose to use a sweetened drinking chocolate.
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp Choc Shot
Honey and Almond Butter
Some lucky Londoners can grow almonds successfully, because the capital is that bit warmer than the rest of the country. For most of the country, almonds can't be homegrown. Almonds are very good for you and studies suggest they are especially beneficial for people with diabetes and those at risk of heart disease. There are a few environmental concerns regarding almonds so buy organic if you can.
150g blanched almonds