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Facts About Almond Butter, with Tips and Recipes

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Almond butter facts health benefits recipes

Image Source: Amazing Almonds/Flickr

Almond butter is a food paste made from raw or roasted almonds.  It may be crunchy or smooth, and is generally found in either “stir” (meaning it is prone to oil separation) or “no-stir” (emulsified) variations.  Almond butter is loaded with fiber and protein and contains more monounsaturated fat and much less saturated fat than peanut butter.  Here is a little information on the health benefits of almond butter, along with tips and recipes!

Health Benefits

Almond butter is very versatile in its use and is nutritionally rich.  It tends to have a delicately sweet and pleasant taste that adults and kids alike will love.  Because almond butter is mostly made with almonds, it is seen as an overall healthier choice than traditional peanut butter.  Although because of this, almond butter is often sold for upwards of $8 a jar.  But fret not, as it is also very easy to make at home with a food processor or high-speed blender.  Check out a recipe later in this article!

As with most foods, there are two main kinds of almond butter:  Refined and unrefined.  Unless you make your own almond butter at home, there’s a chance that what you find at the store will have some level of processing involved.  By eating almonds or almond butter, you’re getting vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorous.  Almond butter provides healthy fat not typically found in foods high in saturated fats  Almonds are high in calories, but they are such a nutrient-rich food that, unless your diet is high in calories or full of empty calories and processed foods, this isn’t something you need to worry about.

Almond butter provides 6-8 grams per 2 tablespoons of protein, and is rich in vitamins such as E and B2.  It is rich in minerals like magnesium and manganese, and finally, is also rich in phytonutrients like antioxidants.  To benefit from this the most, it is always best to make your almond butter using raw almonds.  If you do decide to buy your almond butter, always read the label, because some almond butters have oils, salts and/or sugars added in, and some may try to get creative about flavoring by adding flavoring agents and the like.

Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter

This question will remain for some time: Which is better, or more nutritious?  I would just like to give a little insight to the debate.

Both of these can be healthy and nutritious, but there are a few factors to consider when choosing between them.  One main thing you need to know is whether the product had been made via a cold-press process, which preserves the nutrients, or if there was excessive heat used to prepare it.

Another major thing to think about is that almond butter is less available in retail stores than peanut butter.  Peanut butter is more common and is produced in a way that is meant to preserve it on the shelf longer, adding unhealthy ingredients such as excess salt and sugar.  Peanut butters that are high in these ingredients have been linked to health problems such as hypertension and heart issues when consumed in excess.  When choosing between peanut and almond butter, pay attention to the labels, as it is best to go with a nut butter that has undergone minimal heat processing and includes little to no added ingredients. Check out our article on the best nut butter picks.

Tips

  1. When making your own almond butter, you can use either raw or roasted almonds in a high-speed blender or food processor.  Raw almonds will take a little longer to break down, while freshly roasted ones will break down much faster, preferably if added to your instrument of choice while still warm.  You can also dry-roast almonds yourself at 350° F for 10-12 minutes.
  2. Feel free to add salts or spices for flavoring, to your own personal taste.  Experiment!
  3. For the longest shelf life, don’t add soaked almonds before making sure they’re completely dried off.  It can be tempting to add extras like vanilla extract or agave, but this will greatly reduce the shelf life of your almond butter.

Easy Almond Butter Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Almonds
  • Sea Salt
  • Agave, coconut oil, maple syrup, or honey (all optional)

 Preparation:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out around 2 cups of almonds.
  2. Roast at 375° for about 6-8 minutes until a slightly darker brown, (careful not to burn!)
  3. After the almonds cool off slightly, place in a food processor and grind for about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Every few minutes, you’ll want to stop the processor and push down anything that has accumulated on the sides of the bowl.
  5. Continue to process until you get a thick, creamy texture.
  6. Sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt and blend again just enough for it to set in.
  7. If you desire any additional flavor, add in maple syrup, coconut oil, agave, or honey, and mix well.
  8. Store in a tupperware container or mason jar for 6-8 weeks.  Using any of the aforementioned flavor additives will reduce this to 1-2 weeks.

Cooking with almond butter? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Click next to begin.

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