Make Your Own Nut Butter

Nut butter used to be all about peanuts and Americans. Not anymore. Just about any nut can now find its name on the jar.

And enthusiasts will tell you that making your own nut butter is not only simple but can result in a taste and texture that is perfect for you.

First choose your favourite nuts. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts all crop up in one recipe or another, either alone or in a mixture. And the basic process really is simple.

Most recipes use 2 cups of nuts 10 ounces) to make a jar of butter. Just roast your chosen nuts on a baking sheet in an oven at 180;C for ten minutes or so until they turn fragrant and golden brown. (If using hazelnuts, it will be necessary to remove the skins.)

Now just blend them in your food processor for 10-15 minutes. Well it is a little more complicated than that. To start with blend for three to five minutes. The nuts will now have begun to break down. So, give the machine a break and scrape the mixture off the sides. And you can now add a dash of oil. While nuts have large quantities of their own oil and some recipes add no more others use nut oils, especially coconut, to help the process. A couple of teaspoons is usual. Add one now.

Then blend for another three to five minutes and scrape down the mixture as necessary. Now continue the process, adding extra oil if necessary, until the mixture is as smooth as you choose.

Now you can just spread it on toast, stir it into porridge or whatever. Or put it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge (for up to a week). But actually, that is not quite the end of it. Because it is possible to make additions at that first break in the blending process. A drizzle of honey is popular. Then there's salt. Or seeds, like sunflower or chia. Deliciously Ella's recipe which uses, almonds, pecans and walnuts with a tablespoon of coconut oil also adds six pitted medjool dates and cinnamon. The choice is yours.