Thursday, January 28, 2010

Almond Butter on the Cheap

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you've ever been 5 years old, (and I bet you have) you've probably had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As benign as you may have thought it, the classic PB&J could possibly symbolize everything that is wrong with Conventional Wisdom.

what CW saysthe reality
bread"grains are the base of the food pyramid, therefore they are good. Whole grains are even better!"Grains are gut irritants and cause an insulin response promoting fat storage, no matter how "whole" they are.
jelly"made from all natural fruit. Fruit is good for you. Therefore jelly is good for you."One word: sugar.
peanut butter"Smooth or chunky, it's a great source of protein and vitamins."Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes. Legumes are gut irritants and can literally cause small perforations where bad stuff can leak into your system, aka leaky gut.
If you would like more in-depth posts on any of the above topics, post it in comments

So while you can pretty much rule out bread and jelly, there ARE great substitutes for peanut butter, namely, nut butters. Almond butter, walnut butter, pecan butter, macadamia nut butter...the list goes on. Loaded with good fats, they are not ideal for someone looking to lean out, but a great portable way to get some fat in. But if you've ever looked in the store, nut butters can either be too expensive, or not even available! So what is a CrossFitter/Paleo/Primal eater to do??

Make your own!

I buy 3 pounds of unsalted almonds at Costco for about $10. Compare this to $10 for a small jar of almond butter and you have me sold. Almond butter goes great with lots of things, but I like to cut up an apple and dip it in the almond butter. Below is the very easy way to make your own almond butter, almond meal, and almond flour. (great substitutes for flour, bread crumbs, etc. I'll throw up some recipes containing these later)

Step 1: Buy unsalted almonds.Anywhere between 1-3 pounds is good, keeping in mind that the volume of almond butter is significantly less than the volume of the nuts. (because of packing density <--nerd alert)
Step 2: Roast almonds at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes (don't burn them! this step is actually optional but I like the roasted taste better than unroasted)
Step 3: Throw them in a food processor or even a blender.
Step 4: Start up the blender/processor and LET IT RUN. You will find that the almonds get crunched quickly, but it turns into a powder (almond flour). Then it will get a little thicker (almond meal) but you will be disappointed that it doesn't look anything like almond butter.
Step 5: Wait. 
Step 6: Wait some more. 
Step 7: At this point you may have to stop it and scrape the sides to get the almond meal down back to the blades. That's ok, you can keep doing this. But keep it going. What will happen after about 7-10 minutes is magical. The oils in the almonds will come out and play and all of a sudden you will have this ball of almond rolling around picking up pieces of almond meal along the way like a snowball (almond snowman anyone?). This is a good thing. 
Step 8: This ball will eventually break up and then you'll start to see the almond butter form. Like I said it really is magical, but if you want to speed up the process just a touch, you can add 1Tbs. of olive oil. Not necessary, but it will get that almond ball going a bit sooner. 
Step 9: Keep it going until you get the consistency you want: chunky, smooth, etc. It won't be as smooth as smooth peanut butter, but it also won't cause holes to form in your gut lining. Think about THAT for a second. 
Step 10: Spoon into containers and keep in refrigerator. Enjoy!

this batch was roasted vs. the previous picture which was unroasted almonds.

*Updated Note: I just found that Costco in King of Prussia sells 26oz. jars of almond butter for about $7 $5.99. This is a GREAT price for around here (at Genuardi's it would be more like $12-15 for that size) so although I've enjoyed the fruits of my own labor, I will probably go with this option from now on. Did I just betray my own post??


  1. Hey Chris here's a good sub for the std PBJ....
    2 Coconut pancakes (prev post)

    spread with nut butter of choice or
    pastured butter or
    coconut creme (ymummy!)

    fresh strawberry slices or
    fresh blueberries

    Slap the two pancakes together and Voila!!
    A much tastier (not to mention healthier) version of the PBJ

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Chris,
    I too am stopping making my own almond butter after I found the 26 oz. jar for $5.99. Evan, I am going to try the Coconut pancakes this weekend.

  4. Hey Chris -

    Nice post! Costco in Montgomeryville also sells the Almond Butter. Good stuff...found next to the peanut butter and jelly :) - (That's for the new folks like me who didn't know where to look to find it).

  5. I just did it! its awesome...yet i burned out my buddies blender! Yikes. the tranny connection between the blender and the base melted...whoops. I finished the job in my (tv announcer voice) AS SEEN ON TV Magic Bullet! I think i'll be buying it at costco from now on anyway. The olive oil definitely helped accelerate the process and i'm sure thats what prevented my bullet from burning out too.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog has moved, searching new blog...