Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter

We had an absolute blast, making peanut butter, this afternoon, in response to Barbara Mitchell's A Pocketful of Goobers, A Story about George Washington Carver, and the beginning of Modern Marvels' biography of Dr. Carver (you can view it in 5 parts on YouTube, starting, here).

Dr. Carver did not invent peanut butter. Dr. George A. Bayle, Jr. came up with the idea in the 1890s, as a high protein substitute, for people with poor teeth, who could not chew meat. But, Carver did so much to forward the peanut, as a cash crop, that it seemed only natural to follow up his biography with a peanut project.

So, when I ventured out, on an errand, to the store, and saw the big bags of roasted, but unsalted, peanuts, in the shell, were half price, I thought giving peanut butter making a try might be fun. And, it was.

We shelled about 3 cups worth. It was a big (and messy) job, but it went quickly with all six children working. This would probably not be a good task with toddlers, as peanuts are a serious choking hazard, or obviously, for anyone with peanut allergies - though I hope our blogger friends, with such allergies, will enjoy watching the process from a safe distance.

As we worked, there was lots of time for discussion about peanuts (where, and how they grow), and past presidents (and more importantly, what was in their candy dishes, and why do presidents need candy dishes, anyway?).

Finally, we chopped our shelled, and husked nuts, in the blender.

We added two tablespoons of vegetable oil (probably one tablespoon would have been enough), and 2 teaspoons of sugar (because I know my children), and continued blending, until we had a peanut butter like texture.

As, I said, we might have added a touch too much oil, as our peanut butter was quite thin. It had a strangely dry texture, which was off putting to those sampling it right from the spoon. The flavor was good though, and the older girls enjoyed it on toast.

I think it could be saved for a few days in the fridge. I'm really not sure, because I used up the rest of ours (we had one cup left, after the sampling, and toast), to make our favorite peanut butter cookies.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix together, and roll into balls. Bake, on an ungreased cookie sheet, for 10-12 minutes. Push a chocolate chip into the middle of each cookie, immediately after removing them from the oven.

Our cookies, with the runnier peanut butter, spread more than usual, so I had room to add several chocolate chips. They'll make a nice snack tonight, as we watch the rest of the Modern Marvels' biography.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Mommy E. said...

love this post...I want to make Peanut Butter now(: My kids love peanut butter and now I have a good idea to make it for another project! You all look like you had a blast and your finished creation looks yummy! Blessings!!!

Raising a Happy Child said...

Interesting! So Peanut butter cookies don't need any flour?

Christy said...

I love the peanut shelling conversation! I could almost hear it. We have used that same recipe to make pb cookies - yum! I really want to make peanut butter now!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Raising a Happy Child - Not for this recipe. That's what makes it one of my favorites. Four ingredients, means even the younger children can handle helping.

Elise said...

Your peanut butter cookies seem so simple to make. A perfect recipe for us.

Debbie said...

I have so many times thought of doing this with Selena since she loves peanut butter so much. We've been very fortunate that she has never been one who choked on anything.

Lady Chadwick said...

Very cool, we made some once and I was surprised at how much work it took to make it creamy.

We added molasses too. One day I want to test just molasses no oil...

or honey! bet that would be sweet...

JennB said...

I make peanut butter on a weekly basis at home. The easiest way is to toss the shelled peanuts in the food processor with the metal S blade. Do not add any oil or other stuff. Turn on the processor and let it run way longer than you think you need. You get a good peanut butter that rivals the store bought stuff.