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BTD Forums  /  Cook Right 4 Your Type  /  The Best Raw Nut Butter IMO
Posted by: BHealthy, Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 3:35am
I don't know if this is the right forum for this post but...

I've just made the best almond butter and it will also be the cheapest, in the long run.

Over the past two years I have tried at least 10 different brands of raw organic almond and walnut butter (online and at WF) and definitely prefer those that are stone ground -- they are so smooth they're almost liquid and the flavor is divine.

Until a few days ago, I was not able to find one that was stone ground AND sprouted, something that is important to me, so I bought a stone grinder.  Yes, it was expensive.  But, with almond butter running at $24/pound (sprouted almond butter is $32/pound!) and raw almonds only $10, it will pay for itself fairly quickly.

Here's how I did it:

First, I soaked 2 pounds of raw (really raw, unpasturized*) almonds in RO water to cover with 1 t. himalayan salt for 24 hours.  I changed the water twice, rinsing each time, but did not add additional salt.

Then, I drained and rinsed them, spread them on a jelly roll pan, and dehydrated them for 8 hours at 120F and then 8 hours at 140F.

I plugged in my grinder, raised the wheels slightly, and turned it on.  I added the almonds one handful at a time making sure they were crushed before adding more.  Once all the almonds were in the bin I let it run until there were no more large pieces and then lowered the wheels as far down as they would go.

If the wheels are too low when you're adding the almonds, they will jam.

When I was sure the wheels were turning smoothly I let it run for 6 hours.  At this point, the butter looked exactly like the one I had been buying for $24 a pound.  

However, the almonds I used were purchased on sale for $7.22/pound, because they were not perfect, so I had just created $50 worth of nectar for $14.50!  At this rate, after making 26 1-pound jars I will have broken even.  If I have to use almonds at $10/pound I will break even after 30 jars.

Two pounds of almonds made almost 4 cups of butter or 56 tablespoons.  I use 2T in my morning smoothie so two pounds should last me about 1 month and I will have broken even in one year.

The downsides to making my own are the following:

The upsides:

*Unpasteurized almonds: our government has decreed that all almonds grown in the US MUST be pasteurized, either by irradiation, treating them with a toxic chemical (propylene oxide), or with steam-heat (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4742.cfm).  Pasteurized almonds will not sprout.  However, these 'cooked' almonds can still be labeled 'raw'. Buyer beware.  

Most of the 'really raw, not irradiated" almonds available in the US are imported from Italy.  Italian almonds have a stronger almond flavor.

The only exemption to the US regulation are small-scale growers who can sell truly raw almonds but only directly to the public from farm stands.  There are some online stores, which purchase in small quantities,  selling these really raw almonds.  Google 'really raw' or 'truly raw' to find them.
Posted by: Dianne, Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 4:18am; Reply: 1
That's great! Where did you purchase the grinder if you don't mind my asking?  :)
Posted by: Victoria, Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 4:19am; Reply: 2
Sounds awesome, Bhealthy.  :)  I love raw almond butter and have been buying it in bulk lately (brand is Artisana).  It is the most delicious of all the brands I have tried over the past 10 years, but it is not as thin and creamy as you described.  I am putting up with the thickness of it because it has no added oil, and I love that about it.

Sprouted almond butter is way out of my price league, as well as getting a stone grinder (at this time ;) ).  But I do want to try it your way eventually.  The blonde flaxseeds that I buy are sprouted and so are the almonds.
Posted by: AKArtlover, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 12:52am; Reply: 3
Fats start going rancid the minute they are exposed to air/ground. Your way is healthier- but yes need to be kept cold.

Great post!

Thinking that soaking method works for nuts as well? Have been soaking pecans lately and making a pudding of sorts in Vitamix.

Does that salt help with phytic acid?

I've not tried to make a nut butter in the Vitamix yet, but I have made almost a cereal like consistency with pecans in a mini chopper with some blueberry and maple syrup. Delish.

I came back as having IgE pretty heavy to almonds. I was abusing them awhile so it's probably that or during when my gut wall wasn't holding it's own. Confident I will get them back after some healing.

I've heard those high temperatures kill the enzymes. Have you thought about a dehydrator?
Posted by: honeybee, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 12:58am; Reply: 4
I love this!
What else can you use your stone grinder for? Flours?
Posted by: BHealthy, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 2:10am; Reply: 5
Dianne, I bought the grinder at http://www.therawfoodworld.com (http://www.therawfoodworld.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=316_100465 )  It's listed for $500 but I had a $30 coupon plus I'm a member of their benefits program and get 14.5% off everything so I ended up paying only $402.  Shipping is free.  

Victoria, the brand I like the best is Dastony.  They make a sprouted version but I haven't tried it yet. I'm pretty sure the sprouted versions have less oil because some of it leaches into the soaking water.  I'm afraid that some of the omega-3's are also leaching out so I may try soaking for shorter periods.

AKArtlover, yes, the salt is supposed to help with the phytic acid.  The 140F drying temp is also supposed to help with the phytic acid but I was concerned that I was destroying the delicate oils, too.  This first batch was a 'test run'; the next will be soaked less and dried at lower temps.  The problem with shorter/lower drying is that there might be too much water in the nuts and the butter will be too runny.
    
I've seen recipes for making nut butters in a processor but it takes 10+ minutes and some machines can't handle that.  I tried it and wasn't happy with the results -- it wasn't as creamy as I like it.

This batch is going to live in the pantry until it's gone to see whether it will last the month.  The next batch will be bigger, I'm going to try 3-4 pounds, and will be stored in the fridge.  Freshness wasn't a consideration initially but it's a nice bonus.

honeybee, I thought about using the grinder for grains but read that you need a dedicated grain grinder because the flour works its way into the stones and makes them less efficient.  I don't eat grains so it's no great loss.

My new favorite dessert is almond butter mixed 3:1:1 with raw cocoa powder and honey.  It's creamy fudgy delicious.  

Once http://www.nuts.com restocks their raw organic walnut pieces I'll make sprouted walnut butter.  I actually prefer it to almond butter and both are diamonds for me.

Another downside, which I forgot to list, is that the grinder is pretty big.  There's no room for it in my kitchen so it's back in its box and under the work table in my studio.
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