As you may recall, Moon Man has decided to unleash his inner Ogg-the-Caveman. He’s following a kinda-sorta Paleo-Primal-mostly-meat-and-plants-but-sometimes-you’ve-gotta-have-some-cheese diet, and allowing himself one Splurge Day and one Splurge Meal per week (O glorious doughnuts, I can’t quit you…). One of the tenets of this lifestyle, as we’ve discovered, is that legumes are a no-fly zone–your average caveman probably didn’t spend a whole lot of time cultivating beans for fun and profit, so they’re just not part of the diet plan. And as you may recall from your favorite trivia game, peanuts are a legume. Ergo, peanuts are generally a no-no (splurge days notwithstanding. On Splurge Days, all bets are off, and it is not unheard of for us to make an “emergency” run to the store to buy every single thing in their bakery and devour it in a single gluttonous sitting).
And since peanuts are Not Caveman Food, then by extension peanut butter, especially with all its sugar and such, is definitely Not Caveman Food. So we decided to try almond butter, because almonds are really truly nuts (not beans), and besides, almond butter sounded yummy.
So a coupla weeks ago, I picked up a jar of almond butter at the grocery store. There were two brands available; one of them, the one I bought, contained only almonds and salt, while the other one apparently felt the need to add honey and preservatives and kitchen sinks and things. I twitched a little bit at the price–it was about $6.50 for the 11-ounce jar–but chalked it up as being another example of how Being a Caveman Is Not for the Faint of Budget (though you save a surprising amount of grocery money as you start veering away from the “foods” that utterly fail to keep you full for more than an hour or so) and brought it home, whereupon Moon Man fell on it like a rabid weasel and devoured it like he was being paid to endorse the stuff. And I have to admit: it really was delicious. Like, seriously delicious. Like “why on earth did we ever eat peanut butter when this stuff was out there the whole time?!?” delicious. Spread some of it on a celery stick and boy howdy, you’ve got yourself a treat.
But the problem was the cost. Given that we could go through a jar every week or two if we exercised serious self-restraint (and could easily go through a jar in a single sitting if we felt particularly self-indulgent), $6.50 per jar was just a bit more than I could bear to spend.
So I looked into making our own at home. I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated by this idea; I mean, all the things I read on the internet made it sound terribly easy, but the internet is a strange place whose advice should be taken with a grain of salt. The internet also makes it sound like becoming a millionaire is easy (just follow these simple steps!), as is losing all your belly fat and raising chickens and learning to play the sousaphone. The internet exaggerates a little bit, is all I’m sayin’.
But I set out today with my trusty food processor and a jar of dry-roasted almonds with sea salt ($11 for 2.5 pounds at Costco), and figured that I should at least give it a try. Sometimes the internet is right, y’know, so it’s usually worth a shot.
And I learned something important today: the amount of money I saved in the last 20 minutes by making my own almond butter is enough to buy myself a new pair of pants, to replace the ones I ruined by wetting myself from laughing so hard at the ludicrousness of it all.
Here’s how you make almond butter. Step 1: Put almonds in food processor (I used a pound). Step 2: Push the “On” button. Step 3: Wait until it stops being almonds and starts being almond butter, about 5-7 minutes, pausing periodically to scrape down the sides because I can’t resist fidgeting with the food when I’m “cooking”. Step 4: Push the “Off” button.
It was seriously that easy. I added a couple of teaspoons of water at one point, because I was becoming neurotic about not having to do anything; but really, I could’ve just stood there, maybe filed my nails or sorted the recycling or something. The hardest part by far (aside from battling my own psyche) was the discovery that almonds are apparently an invasive species, in that the little particles will find nooks and crannies of your food processor that you never dreamed were there, and will hide in them so that washing the thing afterwards is something of a challenge.
At the end of it all, I put my fresh homemade almond butter in a little reusable storage container and stuck it in the fridge (they say you should refrigerate it), and did a bit of mental math. I reckon that at 2.5 pounds for $11, it would cost me about $3.00 to make the same 11 ounces I bought for $6.50 at the store. So, y’know, half price, plus a few minutes of my time and a bit of noise in the kitchen.
In other words: well played, food manufacturers, well played. You have successfully fooled the populace into believing that in order to have “premium” foods, i.e., ones that aren’t all full of chemicals and crap, they have to spend a boatload of money. You have taught us that making things at home is too hard, and that we are all far too busy to do wacky hippie things like making our own almond butter. You have made us believe that you are on our side, and that you want us to be healthy and happy and that for a teensy extra fee, you can make that happen. Excellent work, folks. I applaud you.
But I’m here to tell you, ‘Tracters, that while it’s certainly true that some things (neurosurgery, rocket science, massage) are best left to the pros, almond butter is totally within your grasp. It’s completely do-able, and in fact, it’s embarrassingly easy.
And cheap. And while honey badger might not give a damn about the budget, this particular Mrs Honey Badger does. And she is not about to fall for the Food Manufacturers’ shenanigans anymore.