Saturday, January 17, 2009

Almond Butter

I never liked peanut butter much as a youth. It's not as popular in Australia and the formula is slightly different. During my time as a vegetarian I found the taste of America's number one spread growing on me and now I really like the stuff (the all-natural variety in particular).


Also being a great fan of the almond, another not-technically-a-nut-but-called-a-nut-anyway, I have been interested in trying almond butter ever since encountering it a few years ago but the price tag had put me off. Now that there are some generic offerings, the price has come down a bit but it's still exponentially higher than peanut butter. This is understandable though as almonds come from trees and the crops yield far less than a typical peanut crop of similar size, naturally making it a more expensive commodity. I was surprised to find that California is the world's largest producer of almonds with most others coming from the Mediterranean countries of Europe and Africa.

almond butter

Almonds are often touted as nutritional super-foods as they are packed with vitamin E, good fats, protein, and dietary fiber. They have also been shown to aid in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. These nutritional qualities and the fact that they're not peanuts so won't kill you if you have a peanut allergy has made almond butter a viable alternative to peanut butter.

almond butter and knife on crisp bread

In terms of consistency and texture, there's really no difference between the additive-free peanut butter and the additive-free almond butter. Both have some oil separation and a similar viscosity. Like peanuts in peanut butter, the almonds are roasted before being made into a paste. Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of roasted almonds and much prefer to them "raw" (apparently they're often pasteurized using steam, so not technically raw). That being so, I wasn't as enamored by this spread as I had hoped. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad at all; definitely enjoyable and satisfying, just not as nice for me as a handful of raw almonds.

almond butter on crisp bread macro

That being said, I don't foresee shelling out six or seven bucks for another small jar and will happily stick to the big jars of all-natural, additive-free peanut butter which is more befitting my palate and budget.

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