In today’s nut-free schools, it is hard to imagine there was a time when PB&J was the staple of most children’s lunchboxes. It certainly was when I was growing up in 1970s America.
Of course many children big and small still enjoy peanut butter at home. Provided the brand you buy does not contain loads of sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils and other added nasties, peanut butter can definitely be part of a healthy diet. But if you or your child like peanut butter, why not try some other nut butters for variety? All nuts are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but beyond that each nut has it own nutritional profile. Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E (important for cell membranes), but the cashews I’ve used in today’s recipe contain higher levels of magnesium, iron, zinc and selenium. It’s a great idea to eat a range of different nuts.
It’s also fun and easy to make your own nut butters with whatever nuts you like best – and not much else.
And once you’ve tasted homemade nut butter, I’d be surprised if you ever bought the stuff in the jar again.
400g plain, raw cashews
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
a generous pinch of salt
Makes one 500ml jar of cashew butter
Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°/gas mark 5.
In a roasting tin, toast the cashews in the oven until golden (about 15 minutes), stirring or shaking frequently to avoid burning. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Put the cashews in the food processor and blitz while gradually adding the olive oil and salt, until the texture looks like peanut butter.
Scrape into a jar and refrigerate. The cashew butter may seem too liquid at first, but it will firm up after a few hours in the refrigerator.
Delicious on toasted (gluten free) bread, on rice cakes or on sliced fruit.