Like other legumes, peanuts contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which impair your body’s ability to access all of the nutrients contained in the peanuts. You can, however, make peanuts much more digestible and nutritious by soaking them in water overnight. While I still do sometimes buy just organic roasted peanut butter at the grocery store, when possible I prefer to soak and roast my own peanuts to to ensure we’re getting maximum nutrients.
While you can make peanut butter with peanuts that have been merely soaked and then dehydrated, I strongly advise against skipping the roasting step if you want your peanuts and peanut butter to taste like the yummy commercial versions. The roasting step is what really brings out that characteristic peanut flavor. Soaked and dehydrated peanuts taste like beans, not nuts. (Try one next time and you’ll see what I mean.) To get what are (in my opinion) the best-tasting peanuts and peanut butter you must roast as well as soak.
You can make this recipe in any amount you choose. I like to soak and roast in large batches (usually around 4 to 6 cups) to cut down on the number of times I have to use the dehydrator and food processor.
(I have this dehydrator, which I have been very pleased with.)
Raw, shelled peanuts (it’s fine if they still have papery skins)
Unrefined salt (1 tablespoon for every 4 cups of peanuts)
How to Make Soaked and Roasted Peanuts
Pour your peanuts into a large glass jar or other soaking receptacle. The jar or container should be much larger than the volume of the peanuts as they will expand while soaking. Add one tablespoon of salt for every four cups of peanuts. Add filtered water, enough to cover the peanuts plus an extra two or more cups.
Allow the peanuts to soak for about 12 hours. Add extra water if you notice that the peanuts have absorbed most of the available water. It works well to start the peanuts in the morning so they can soak all day, or to start them before you go to bed so they can soak all night.
After the peanuts are done soaking, dump them into a colander and rinse well.
Put peanuts onto dehydrator trays. The peanuts do not need to be in a single layer but do not pile them more than an inch deep.
Dry the peanuts in your dehydrator for 12 or more hours. Since you will be roasting them later, I dehydrate at 155°F. I find it works well to start drying my peanuts at night, so that if they take more than 12 hours I can check on them during the day.
Stop dehydrating when the peanuts are dry. Since you will be roasting them later, it’s okay if they’re not completely dry. (Technically you could roast the peanuts immediately after soaking, but I find that the roasting is much easier when the peanuts are dry rather than wet.)
Preheat your oven to 300°F. Spread peanuts onto a baking sheet. If you are roasting a lot of peanuts you will likely need to separate them into two or more batches. Don’t worry about spreading the peanuts into a single layer but don’t pile them higher than 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.
Roast peanuts for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, start checking the peanuts for doneness every 3 minutes. When properly roasted the peanuts will be slightly browned and resemble nuts rather than legumes, but the best way to test for doneness is to taste them. They should taste like a roasted peanut, nutty and pleasant, rather than like a bean.
Err on the side of roasting too little rather than too much. The peanuts will continue to cook a bit after you remove them from the oven. If they taste pleasantly roasted they are almost certainly done.
Allow peanuts to cool.
Store your peanuts in a closed container. You can leave them whole for snacking or for adding to Pad Thai, or you can use them to make peanut butter.
How to Make Soaked and Roasted Peanut Butter
Pour peanuts into your food processor. If you have a lot of peanuts you will likely want to split them up into two or more batches.
Cover your ears and turn on your food processor. Grinding peanuts in the food processor is extremely loud for the first thirty seconds so I recommend just walking away for a minute. Once the peanuts have been ground up a bit the sound will decrease significantly and you should be able to stand next to the machine without discomfort.
Run the food processor until your peanuts become peanut butter. This will likely take quite a while, somewhere between ten and twenty minutes depending on the strength of your food processor and how many peanuts you are grinding.
Once the peanuts become butter, turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl to reincorporate any stray peanut particles.
Turn the food processor back on and continue processing until the butter reaches your desired consistency. If you let it go long enough it will eventually become very smooth. (This is the way I prefer it.) Turn it off earlier to achieve a coarser consistency.
Store finished peanut butter in a glass jar in the fridge.
Do you soak and/or roast your peanuts? What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?
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