Peanut Butter

Homemade peanut butter is one of life’s simple pleasures.  It is pretty easy to make, stores well, and every batch I have ever made tastes good.  A question that immediately comes to mind is: “Why make peanut butter?”  After all, it is cheap and plentiful at the store.  Even if you were just looking to avoid the hight fructose corn syrup that exists in most there are many “natural” brands that exist without added sugar.  That is all true, and yet still I like to make my own.  Why?

I think it comes out tasting better than the “natural” store bought brands, and it really doesn’t take much work.  Plus you can tweak things to your liking.  I enjoy a little honey in my peanut butter.  Some things are just worth trying to make once.  If only to see how it gets to the shelves of your stores.  It is easy to forget how much modern industrialization has saved us in labor and time.  An occasional reminder is refreshing.


  1. I start with 2 cups (~10oz) of dry roasted peanuts (you can use honey roasted or any other nuts for that matter) in a food processor.
  2. Turn food processor on.  At one minute it should look coarse but kind of like peanut butter (see picture)
  3. At two minutes, it will look about done.  Don’t stop there!  I take the top off and scrape down all the sides to make sure everything is getting combined well.
  4. Take this time to add ingredients
    1. 2-3 teaspoons of peanut oil (for added creaminess)
    2. 1 Tablespoon of honey (I like tupelo)
    3. 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  5. Continue processing for an additional minute, and you have peanut butter!

Ingredients: I have worked out those ratios based on my tastes.  You can get by with out adding anything or by adding lots of stuff.  Just don’t go overboard with the salt, that can sneak up on you.  The two cups of starting peanuts used my 20oz jar in two pretty even batches.  Dropping down slightly to a 16oz jar of peanuts should be fine.

Food Processor: I have made this with a smaller food processor and it had a lot of trouble keeping up.  If yours doesn’t look like my picture at the set times, then keep going till you get the right texture.  Drop back on the amount of peanuts next time.  Mileage may vary with the quality and power of food processor.

Storage: I stick mine in cleaned half pint mason jars.  The 20oz of peanuts gave 3 half-pint jars of peanut butter.  These can not be canned with normal methods, but do store well in the fridge for a few months.  These jars will not last that long in the Hansel household.

Cold peanut butter tough to spread?  Give it a 20 second trip through the microwave to get the right viscosity.  A longer trip will make it more like a dessert drizzle for ice cream!  The texture is pretty smooth, but you will never get it as smooth as the skippy guys do.  Crunchy peanut butter can be made by chopping up a small batch of nuts in the processor before hand, and combining in the final few seconds of your batch.


Salsa Experiment 1

previous post explained my methodology for salsa experimentation.  True to that, I have started with my most experienced version of salsa.  Food processor cut, and pot cook.  I upped the size to make enough for a good canning.  In doing so, I think some of the quantities will have to be altered.  Other than that, the results were good.


  • ~10lb of Roma Tomatoes
  • 8 Bell Peppers (multiple colors)
  • 2 Onions
  • 3 Bulbs of garlic
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 8 Small Habaneros
  • 6 Limes
  • 1/4 Cup Vinegar (evens out heat, and important acid for canning)
  • 1 tbs Cumin

This worked out well and was a very tasty salsa.  I might up the habaneros next time, and cut down on the bell peppers.  It was a little wattery at first, and not quite enough spice.  I am a lightweight on spice, so add a lot more hotness if you are a fire head.

UDPATE: Now that I have eaten a pint or two of this I think it needs fewer bell peppers.  Next time I will drop down to 4-5 peppers and add a few more tomatoes.  The spice starts off mild and has a slow buildup after a while.

Tomato Core and Seed

A small tomato corer or melon baller does a great job of getting the stem end out, and de-seeding.  I find it is best to chop the tomato in half (top and bottom) and scooping out the seeds from there.  It is quick and easy if you have the tools.


Peppers are de-seeded by first cutting them in half, and again use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and white material.  Habaneros have most of their heat in the seeds and white center.  The flesh has some spice, but also a lot of flavor.  Use the baller to remove the center bits and keep the delicious flesh.  Also, WEAR GLOVES!  I had an interesting experience with inserting my contacts a full day after chopping habaneros with bare hands once.  Not pleasant.

Food Processor

The food processor is a wonderful invention of the modern age.  It does have a few issues though.  First, you really don’t want to overload it.  Putting too many ingredients in can cause some to become mush, and others to jump around on top un-chopped.  Every food processor has its limit, so start small, and work your way up until you find yours.  Never use the ON feature either, if you have a pulse button.  Pulsing manually helps keep things mixed up and aids consistency.

When doing salsa, I want some ingredients to be a little coarser.  Putting in only a single pepper, or 2-3 tomatoes at a time and doing a few quick pulses gives good results.  Again, If I threw twice that in and tried it the results would be all across the map.  I quarter the big peppers and onions before putting them in, while the tomato halves get thrown in as is.  Cutting these smaller to start with, might help the processor out.  I will try that in the future.

Cook Down

I cooked down the ingredients for 2-3 hours to concentrate flavor and reduce water content.  We had a party to get to, so some of this got spooned off and offered fresh out of the pot.  The rest was refrigerated and canned the next day.  I have done this a number of times with good results.  Sometimes you just don’t have a whole day to can.

Overall I am very happy with this salsa.  It only took about 2 hours to make from start to finish plus the cook down and canning.  The food processor and melon baller make things go quickly.  The texture is fine with a few monster chunks that didn’t get through the food processor right.  There was a lot of water, but this could have been from the high pepper content.  I would rate it a solid salsa with an easy prep and cleanup.  I think the pan searing will offer a bolder smokey flavor, and the mill might improve texture.  Still, this is a good go-to recipe for salsa.


How to salsa… Not the dance

Let me start by saying that I love salsa.  It can be a wide variety of things with different techniques, ingredients, and styles.  I have experimented a bit with different versions of salsa and wanted to document a few key ways to make it.  First off, Pico De Gallo is delicious, but not what I am going for.  Pico is with fresh, uncooked, ingredients.  I am looking for a cooked salsa that I can can (in a jar) for future use.  Fun fact, salsa means “sauce” in spanish!

I am not going to do a lot of ingredient variation in my experiments.  I have a set of things that make a good salsa and want to focus more on the salsa making techniques than the ingredients.  Specifically how the vegetables are chopped or milled, and how they are cooked.  Texture is an important part of eating, and the process of cutting or smashing could release different flavors.  Similarly, the cooking method can impart or alter flavors.  I am going to break up the different techniques into a table and slowly check off each version, documenting as I go along.

 Vegetable Cutting

There are really three ways of getting this done as I see it.  Chopping by hand, food processor, and food mill.  The hand method can provide select sizing of ingredients, and not “mush” anything along the way.  It is very slow, and I like a finely chopped salsa.  That leaves chopping ingredients via a food processor and a food mill.  I have used the food processor with good results, but it can liquify the ingredients too much sometimes.  The mill will be new to me, but promises consistency.  I will be using this attachment to process the ingredients.


The raw ingredients have to be cooked.  I have used two different techniques to cook them.  First is to chuck everything into a pot and cook it all down.  Easy, effective, and it mingles the flavors.  This works well for canning, because you have to heat everything up enough to can it safely.  The other way is to sear the ingredients on a hot cast iron skillet before combining.  I have done this with out any cook-down, and it yielded great results!  This would still require some time in the pot before canning.

I made a 2×2 salsa matrix to show how the combination plays out.  Think of it as some sort of salsa round robin challenge.  May the odds be ever in your favor!