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Homemade peanut butter a healthy snack

Peanut butter is not only a staple of children’s lunches, but it also is a healthy food. While commercially made peanut butter is popular, foodies can also make their own homemade peanut butter.

Rich in fiber and protein, peanut butter makes a healthy addition to any diet. Fiber helps maintain a healthy colon and reduce bad cholesterol in the blood and also may help to regulate blood glucose levels, while possibly reducing an individual’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. Individuals looking to eat high protein foods can choose peanut butter as a good protein source that can help the body feel full longer.

Peanut butter sometimes gets a bad rap because of the amount of fat per tablespoon of the food. While a serving of peanut butter is roughly 188 calories and may have 16 grams of fat, the fat is monosaturated, meaning it is heart-healthy. When enjoyed in moderation, peanut butter is healthy.

There are several advantages to making your own peanut butter. One of the main reasons is you have complete control over the ingredients. Unlike store-bought varieties, your peanut butter will not contain extra additives, such as preservatives, sugar, salt and oils — all of which can make commercial peanut butters less healthy. Taste is another factor in homemade peanut butter. Many people find the taste is more authentic in homemade peanut butter. Plus the saltiness, sweetness or roasted flavor can be customized based on preference.

Here’s how to make homemade peanut butter. (Note: This recipe yields roughly 1 quart.)

1. Purchase 1 bag of unshelled peanuts or 1 can (1 pound) of shelled, raw or roasted peanuts.

2. Set aside about a tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil.

3. Shell the peanuts, if necessary, and put them into a food processor.

4. Pulse the food processor to start chopping the peanuts. Scrape down the bowl to ensure that all of the peanuts get finely chopped.

5. Add the vegetable oil to help make a smooth butter and continue to blend until smooth.

6. Taste the peanut butter and mix in salt or a small amount of sweetener depending on personal preference. Honey makes a good sweet alternative to sugar.

7. Peanut butter can remain fresh in a sealed container for roughly one month. It also can be frozen.

Making homemade peanut butter ensures you have control over the ingredients, potentially creating a healthier alternative than store-bought varieties. It is an activity that families can do together and you’re guaranteed a great-tasting peanut butter customized to your palate.

This story was posted on November 28, 2012.