Homemade peanut butter is great stuff, far superior to any found in a jar on a grocery shelf. First off, it tastes better. Second, it's healthier for you because it's made with fresh ingredients and with natural oil rather than hydrogenated fats. And finally, this great source of protein and energy is relatively inexpensive to make: It costs less than 40 cents per pound.
Recently I bought a 125-pound sack of shelled raw Spanish peanuts on a special order from a grocer in my town. The store purchased the Georgia-grown nuts from a candy jobber and charged me 32 cents a pound, a total of $40 for the bag.
The first thing I did with my peanuts was to make some of them into delicious peanut butter spread, according to the following recipe:
Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe
1 to 2 pounds raw shelled peanuts
Up to 1 cup Peanut oil
Spread one to two pounds of raw, shelled peanuts in a shallow baking pan. Roast them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the peanuts from the oven and let them cool.
Grind the peanuts into a meal using either a food grinder or an electric blender set at high speed. Then add a few sprinkles of salt to taste, plus a spoonful of honey (if using sweetener). Honey is preferable to sugar because it seems to disperse better. Finally, mix in the peanut oil — as much as one cup for a 2 pound batch — until all the particles of roasted peanut meal have been moistened.
Friends who tasted my peanut butter urged me to make it for sale. I never did go into the peanut butter business, although it might have been profitable as the natural product retails for 90 to 95 cents per pound! I did, however, sell 65 pounds of raw peanuts. The local stores were charging 49 cents a pound for the same thing, so I asked 40 cents a pound, did my friends a service and made a profit too.
Even then, I had a lot of leftover peanuts, which I divided up into plastic bags and froze. Peanuts freeze well, and will keep frozen for nine to 12 months. I'll have them handy whenever I take a fancy to some treat like the following:
Peanut Butter Candy Recipe
1/2 cup homemade peanut butter
1 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1/2 cup honey
Combine all the ingredients and turn the mixture out on a buttered surface. Pat or roll it to a half-inch thickness. Cut the candy into squares and chill it.