My mum always used to get natural peanut butter from the health food shop. We used to be able to go in and see them behind the counter, turning on the nut grinder and the thick, crunchy, paste ooze out the bottom. Crunchy, always.
Now at the food shop where Mum gets her peanut butter crushes its all-natural peanut butter in advance and keeps it in the refrigerator. All you have to do is walk in, locate the fridge at the back of the shop, and choose your size and crunch factor. There isn’t as much interaction as there used to be. No talking to the peanut butter vendor. Just transaction. Sad.
I can remember the first time someone suggested home-made peanut butter and I was astounded that you could do it at home. It seems silly now, especially with my history of peanut butter, that I ever thought it impossible, but it is in fact the complete opposite. It is as easy as turning on the oven. A little time, probably almost as much as it would take to drive down to the health food shop (where they still have peanut butter crushed to order, here where I live) and buy it – ten minutes in a moderate oven, a little peeling time, a food processor – and you can choose your crunchiness just the way you like it. The best part is, it’s not limited to peanuts. So far, I’ve only used almonds and peanuts but I am definitely planning on cashew butter soon, possibly followed by homemade tahini. Delicious.
Take about two cups of raw nuts. Roast in a 350°F/180°C oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on how toasted you like them. If they have a skin, peel by either rubbing them vigorously in a tea towel, brushing with a clean dry scrubbing brush in a sieve or peeling each nut individually. Whiz in food processor for a good ten minutes, until the oils have come out and formed the nuts into a smooth paste. If you like crunchy nut butter, just before it becomes too clumpy, stop the processor and take out about a third of the nuts. Fold these in at the end.