I've been having a BLAST with my new hobby.....making my own peanut butter and jelly. Let's face facts: We consume mass quantities of it in this house. It's something I've always wanted to do. Canning can be a bit intimidating, and you not only need the jars but all that other stuff. And then...my new issue of Everyday Food (Martha) came in the mail...and low and behold there was an article in there about "freezer jam". The process is almost the same, cook down the fruit (either stone fruit or berries), add some pectin (a certain kind) and sugar, then you put it in the jars let it sit for a day until it cools and the seal forms. Then it's good in the fridge for 3-4 weeks or in the freezer for 6-12 months (hearing different things). Genious!!! I am in love. I already buy "natural" jam so to speak, but we go through it alot. I figured out for the price of one of those jars I can make 4 of these. My goal is to have a year's worth of it. In order for it to keep at room temp, you have to do the extra steps of "processing" it in boiling water after the jam is in the jars and that requires more equipment that I don't have yet. This is easy enough for me just to get my feet wet.
I figure we go through about 3 of this size jar (pint) a month. So far I have made plum, peach, blueberry/strawberry, and strawberry/peach. I still have to make a batch of plain strawberry and then maybe some more peach. Yall, it is SO yummy. And I know exactly what is in there, just fruit, sugar, and pectin. No preservatives-yay.
I have made peanut butter before, with a small amount of peanuts and also a small amount of almond butter after seeing an article online about it. But I used what I had, which was dry roasted salted nuts. I find that it is just too salty. So I set out to find dry roasted unsalted nuts, so I can add just a little salt, which I found for pretty good price at Whole Foods. Making peanut butter is SO easy, I highly reccomend everyone do it! I think it keeps in the fridge for about a month also. I wish it kept longer or you could freeze it! Then I could make a bunch of it at once. All you do it put the peanuts in the food processor and let it go. It takes several minutes. First it becomes fine ground. Then as the oils are forced out of them it becomes pasty. If you let it go for longer, about 5 minutes, it becomes creamy like it should. I do have one reccomendation.....after trying it with my smaller food processor, mainly meant for chopping small quantites, I think you really think you need a good quality large food processor that can handle the resistance making this gives you.
You can also make "seed butters". At the same trip to WF I got some sunflower seeds to try out. I'm pretty sure you need already roasted ones (same with nuts, not the raw kind unless you want to roast them yourself). I'm pretty excited to try it! This is a great alternative for people with nut allergies. Also? "speciality" peanut/nut butters cost AN. ARM. AND. A. LEG. So this? is a much more cost effective way to have the good stuff!
I think I may break this up into a few posts, with an instructional one on the peanut butters. I think more people would make their own, if they knew how easy it was! Would anyone be interested in that?
I'll leave you with this for now.... this is a PBJ made with plum jelly and almond butter...on homeade white bread no less. Not an everyday occurance around here, as much as I wish, it's so time consuming!! But boy, was it delicious.