Almonds are real expensive, y’all. I live in California, and we grow a lot of almonds here. Almonds require a lot of water to produce, and California has endured a massive drought for the past 10 or so years (we’ve found some relief thanks to the snowy and rainy winter of 2016-2017.). Drought = expensive almonds.
Almonds are pretty ubiquitous these days: almond flour, almond milk, almond butter, and you’ll find them as the base of many a trail mix. They do provide health benefits to the brain, skin, and cardiovascular system due to their monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and trace minerals. They’re a good source of fiber, too, at 5 grams per 1/4 cup. We need 50 grams of fiber ideally daily, and most adults get less than 20 grams.
I use quite a bit of almond butter; it’s great in smoothies, on apples, or on a spoon straight out of the jar with raw honey for an afternoon energy boost. Almond butter is expensive, too. I see it for $15.99 at my local market, and Justin’s almond butter is anywhere from $12-$15. Almonds are cheaper in the bulk bin, and when I recently came across non-pasteurized almonds for $6.99/pound at a fruit stand, I jumped on ’em, and my first thought was homemade almond butter. Side note: it’s very hard to find truly raw and/or unpasteurized almonds these days. It’s super easy to make almond butter at home. You’ll save a ton of money, and all you need is a food processor or VitaMix, and about 20 minutes.
How to Make Almond Butter
Step 1: dump almonds into food processor. Pretty easy, right? I had a pound, but any quantity over a cup or so will do. I’ve heard that warming the almonds first will help them release oils for a smoother and faster butter, but I haven’t tried it.
Step 2: start the blending! You’re gonna be processing for a while. It’ll start to look like almond meal first.
Step 3: keep processing. I stop and give the food processor little breaks, and you’ll need to scrape the sides.
After about 10 minutes it’ll start to take form. At this point you can drizzle a tbsp of coconut oil in to help it emulsify.
Step 4: Keep blending. I sometimes add some honey and vanilla and/or a pinch of sea salt at this stage. It looks like this after about 15 minutes.
It should start to come together at a nut butter consistency between 15-20 minutes as it gets warm and the oils are released. You can stop with any consistency you like. This is about 18 minutes.
Step 5: It’s finished at 20 minutes!
Ready to be put into a jar. This made about 12 ounces. I store it in Ball jars in the fridge. Don’t store it in plastic, as the oils react with the plastic, which makes it taste bad.
It’s a little messy because that’s how I roll in the kitchen.
And there you have it; ready to go. Easy, right?
- 1 lb raw almonds
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
- honey to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- pinch sea salt
- cinnamon, nutmeg (optional)
- Place almonds in food processor. You can also use a VitaMix I'm told, but I don't have one and don't know how that works.
- Process until desired consistency for about 20 minutes, stopping to scrape sides and give food processor a break occasionally. You can add optional ingredients to customize it: honey, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, etc. Or just leave it pure, your choice.
- Transfer to jar; store in fridge. Do not store in plastic.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.