Nut Butter

The production of nut butter is a very simple process. The peanut and almond are the nuts that are chiefly used for this purpose; but the Brazil-nuts make a very fine butter. All of the nuts can be ground, but as they can not be blanched, they do not make a nice looking butter. The Spanish peanut has proved the most satisfactory for butter making, although some people prefer the Virginia variety. The first essential thing is to have a nut-grinding mill.

Peanut Butter

The first step is to roast the peanuts to a nice brown, being careful not to over-brown or scorch them, as too much cooking spoils the flavor. They can be roasted in an ordinary oven, but can be better done in a peanut roaster made especially for this purpose. As soon as they are roasted and cool, the skins or bran should be removed by rubbing them in the hands, or what is better, a coarse bag; or take a square piece of cloth and fold the edges together, forming a bag of it. The chaff can then be removed by the use of an ordinary fan, or by pouring from one dish to another where the wind is blowing. The process of removing the skins is called blanching. Next look them over carefully, remove all defective nuts and foreign substances, and they are ready for grinding. If a fine, oily butter is desired, adjust the mill quite closely, and place in the oven to warm. Feed the mill slowly, turn rapidly, and always use freshly roasted nuts; after they have stood a day or two they will [70] not grind well nor make oily butter. If the butter is kept in a cool place in a covered dish, and no moisture allowed to come in contact with it, it will keep several weeks; and if put in sealed jars or cans, will keep indefinitely.

Raw Peanut Butter

Heat the peanuts just sufficiently to remove the skins, but do not allow them to get brown; prepare them as described in a former recipe, and grind in a nut mill. Although the raw peanut butter is not as palatable as the roasted butter, it is considered more healthful and easier of digestion. It is also preferable to use in making soups and puddings, in cooking grains, and in seasoning vegetables. Food seasoned with this butter does not have that objectionable taste that the roasted peanut butter imparts; and if it is properly used, the peanut taste is almost entirely eliminated.

Almond Butter

Almond butter is more difficult to make than peanut butter because the skins can not be so easily removed. Roasting does not loosen the skins of the almond as it does of the peanut. They have to be soaked in boiling water from two to five minutes; then the skins become loose and can be pinched off by pressing on the nut with the thumb and finger; the skin will crack and the kernel pop out. But by this process the nuts have soaked up some water and become tough. They must then be dried in the oven until quite crisp, but the oven must not be hot, or they will brown. Then run them through a loosely adjusted mill or a sausage grinder, and place on a cloth stretched over the stove until perfectly dry; then grind them in the nut-butter mill, quite tightly adjusted. This makes excellent butter if the almonds are first-class, and sweet.

Brazil-Nut Butter

It is cheapest and best to buy the nuts already shelled, then with a sharp knife cut off all the brown, woody skin that adheres to them, and grind them through the mill. They may have to be broken up before putting in the mill. This butter is very good, but not so cheap as peanut butter, excepting in the countries where this nut grows.