Natural Condiments: Make Your Own Peanut Butter & Jelly

Condiments are great. There are so many of them, and they can always make or break a dish. Two of my favorite condiments are peanut butter and jelly, a diehard classic. One day, while eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I wondered how easy it would be to make my own peanut butter and jelly condiments from scratch. You’ll be delighted to know that it’s very easy (and tasty!). It just takes a little time, patience, and dedication. The best part is, you have full control over the ingredients list. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. All too often I see unnecessary ingredients in most condiments (like corn syrup in jelly – really?). Plus, if you're trying to be kind to the environment (like me), I recommend storing these in glass jars. Just save glass jars from jams you previously bought, clean them out, and they're ready for use!  

Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe

Unfortunately, most store-bought peanut butters have a bunch of unnecessary additives that aren't exactly healthy. For example, a well-known peanut butter brand, puts "corn syrup solids" and "Mono- and Diglycerides" into some of their peanut butter products. Um, what? No thank you. That's why it's so important to shop smart and be aware of what's in the food you buy. Instead of eating corn syrup solids with your peanut butter, why not try making your own? 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unshelled peanuts 
  • Salt, sugar, and honey (optional - add to taste) 

Note: You will need a blender. If you don't have one, this recipe is best held off until you have access to one.  

Directions

  1. First things first: Decide if you want your peanuts roasted, or unroasted. It's totally up to you: either way, the peanuts will still make peanut butter (roasting your peanuts will give the peanut butter more of a crisp, crunchy flavor). Start off by rinsing the peanuts and then, if you'd like to roast them, place the peanuts in a bowl and lightly toss them with peanut or vegetable oil. Then, preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C). Spread the peanuts over a single layer on a baking pan and make sure they’re not on top of one another. Cook them for 10 minutes until they're a golden brown.
  2. If you do not want to roast them, that's okay too. Either way (roasted or unroasted), place the peanuts into a food processor and process them. For best results, do this while peanuts are still warm. When your mixture starts to look creamy, stop. This should generally take about 3 minutes, give or take. It also depends on the quality of the blender or food processor you choose to use. 
  3. After you've processed the mixture, add it to a bowl. If you'd like, you may add some salt, sugar, and honey to taste. Make sure you taste the peanut butter before adding anything to it: If you like the way it tastes without any additives, leave it alone. If you do want to add sugar, honey, or salt, make sure to stir it in with a spoon until it's well combined. 
  4. Congrats, you've made your very own peanut butter! Now all that's left to do is scoop it into an air-tight container. I personally recommend using a glass jar. What I like to do is save any glass jar (be it a drink or a jam jar) and reuse it to store my DIYs in. This particular recipe should make about 1 ½ cups of peanut butter. It can be stored in your refrigerator for several weeks, but definitely eat it up sooner rather than later. Use this DIY in anything: slather on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or plop it into peanut miso soup with greens and tofu. Have a sweet tooth? Try using it in these scrumptious PB + J mousse bars. The possibilities are endless! 

Note: The peanut butter will never look as creamy as the one you get from a commercial brand. That's because this one is all-natural. That said, it will taste even better and you'll be glad you made the decision to DIY your own! 

Homemade Jelly

This homemade jelly recipe is super delish. You don't need fresh fruit to make it either, just fruit juice. I recommend purchasing organic fruit juice to make it an extra healthy treat (make sure the fruit juice has no added sugar or corn syrups too). You only want pure juice. Also, if you're wondering, the difference between jams and jellies is that jam is made from crushed fruit, while jelly is made strictly from the juice. If you'd rather make jam, here's a blueberry strawberry jam recipe I recommend. 

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of fruit juice (apple, grape, blueberry, strawberry, and apricot all work well) 
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar 
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 
  • ½ cup of organic pectin 

Directions

  1. Put the 5 cups of fruit juice into a large pot and stir in the sugar. Quickly bring it to a rolling boil. Stir in the lemon juice and pectin and allow it to boil for about a minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam that appears. Then, pour into hot sterile jars, and process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Put in the fridge, let it cool, and enjoy paired with your homemade peanut butter (or any other way you like).

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