Now what fun would it be to homeschool if we didn’t occasionally cast off the books for some hands-on learning?
We’d been talking about George Washington Carver who, in addition to being a great scientist and inventor, was also a devout and respected Christian. (Which was news to me, even though we talked or read about him multiple times when I was in school. Somehow his Christian faith slipped through the cracks in my public school education. Imagine!) His experiments led him to create over 300 products from peanuts and hundreds more from soybeans and sweet potatoes, things like glue and ink and plastic and wood stain.
My kids were immediately asking about peanut butter.
Peanut butter was apparently in existence hundreds of years before Carver’s birth, so we can’t give him credit for its invention, but I can’t imagine a man who spent so much time with peanuts would neglect to make a batch or two of peanut butter along the way! And if George Washington Carver could take the time to make soap and paint and gasoline out of peanuts, then the least the Holts could do is try to make some homemade peanut butter!
It wasn’t a complicated process. And forgive my not-so-clear photographs. I’m in desperate need of a new camera…
We started with a pound of unsalted roasted peanuts, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp honey, and 1 1/2 T peanut oil.
Several recipes I found suggested using a food processor. Unfortunately, I don’t have one. Well, that’s not really unfortunate because I don’t think I would use one very often and I wouldn’t have anywhere to store it if I had it and having another appliance cluttering my counter 24/7 would really get on my nerves. But anyway….
I moved ahead in faith my less-than-fully-efficient blender would get the job done. And, believe me, if my blender can do this, anybody’s can!
So, we dumped in the peanuts and added the salt and honey, then blended on high, stopping every so often to stir a little by hand. After a couple of minutes we had a coarse peanut mixture just moist enough to hold together slightly against the sides of the pitcher.
Then we added the oil a little at a time, blending between additions and hand-stirring some as well. The peanut butter became smoother and smoother as we added the oil until we were left with a mixture that was the consistency of…well…peanut butter!
The texture was coarser than store-bought creamy peanut butter, but far smoother than chunky varieties. A food processor might do a better job at reducing the peanuts to powder, which would mean a creamier consistency, but I was completely satisfied with our end result. The kids wanted some extra sweetness, so I stirred in about a teaspoon of sugar, but it wasn’t necessary at all.
And just so you know, without the extra preservatives found in store-bought peanut butter, the homemade must be refrigerated, but it will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge. And given all the recalls on peanut butter in recent years, maybe making your own on a regular basis isn’t a bad idea!
It was a fun project the kids enjoyed immensely! I mean, who doesn’t love a social studies project you can eat? And what a fun way to learn about George Washington Carver and the humble peanut!
Now for some PB & J made with some awesome Family Brand Homemade Peanut Butter. I have to believe George Washington Carver would be proud!