When we knew my mother was going to be able to come to England for the wedding, I put in an order with her for five jars of Smucker’s Natural creamy peanut butter. Americans, though they probably wouldn’t put it this way unless they’ve lived out of country, are obsessed with peanut butter. It’s definitely a staple food, or maybe a food group of its own. PBJs, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter and banana sandwiches (especially as The King loved, with the banana mashed and the whole thing fried smeared in either butter or bacon fat, as various sources claim), peanut butter milk shakes, Reese’s Pieces and peanut butter cups (I actually remember this one) and Nutter Butters. And when we were down to the last jar within only two months, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands, UK brand Sun Pat being a disgusting claimant to the name peanut butter and not wanting to pay exorbitant sums for American brands chock full of hydrogenated oils. So I looked for a recipe online and discovered that peanut butter, the way I like it, is super easy to make. 1 kilo roasted peanuts, tiny bit of salt and 3T oil. Food processor. Done.
It has now been months since we ran out of store-bought peanut butter, and I’ve been working hard to perfect my homemade peanut butter. I can’t seem to be consistent with it – sometimes it’s perfect, perfectly salted, just the right amount of sugar (barely any), the perfect mixture of oil to peanuts. Others it’s horrible, a flavorless paste or too salty or gloppy from too much oil. Meh. I don’t know what to do to get it right because when I buy salted peanuts I can’t guarantee the saltiness of the peanuts, either within or across brands. I also can’t figure out how much salt to put in, and at what stage, to avoid over-processing when using unsalted.
I haven’t made peanut butter for a while as I was a bit demoralized by the process. I have two bags of unsalted from Holland and Barrett and should get on that today as we’re out of peanut butter again and the jar just came out of the dish washer. We’re still using one of the Smucker’s jars. ; )