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Assorted nut butters on spoons including peanut, hazelnut, pistachio and pumpkin seed, neatly arranged.

Everything You Need To Know About Nut Butter

Nut butters have become a must-have in countless kitchens, thanks to their scrumptious flavor and versatility. Gone are the days when these creamy delights were merely a sidekick for your morning toast; these nutty delights also add a nutritious boost to smoothies, oatmeal, and a variety of recipes. With so many options out there, picking the perfect nut butter for your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. But don't worry, in this guide, we'll break down the various types of nut butters, highlight their unique qualities, and dish out the health benefits they bring to the table. Time to dive into the nut butter world!

What Is Nut Butter?

Nut butter is basically any type of spread made by grinding nuts into a smooth, paste-like goodness. It comes in both crunchy and creamy varieties and works wonders in both sweet and savory dishes. Nut butter isn't just a tasty treat – it's a nutritional powerhouse!

Historical Evolution Of Nut Butter

While many may think of nut butters as a modern-day obsession, these delectable spreads boast a history as rich as their flavor. From ancient civilizations like the Aztecs and Greeks delighting in nut-based pastes to the present day, where nut butters have blossomed into a diverse and flourishing market, their evolution is a tale worth savoring.

Various jars of peanut butter and nuts on a white table.

Different Types Of Nut Butter & Their Health Benefits

Let's explore the different kinds of nut butters and examine their nutritional content per 2 tablespoon serving. Please note that these figures are approximate, based on nut butters that are natural and can vary greatly based on the specific product and its ingredients. It's always a good idea to check the nutrition label on the product for the most accurate information. Additionally, some butters may contain added ingredients like sugar or oil, which can affect the nutritional content. 

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a timeless favorite, known for its creamy or crunchy texture and rich, nutty flavor. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium, it's a versatile choice for both sweet and savory dishes.

 Peanut Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~7g
  • Fat: ~16g
  • Calories: ~188

Almond Butter

Almond butter has gained popularity for its slightly sweeter taste and smooth consistency. Boasting a higher vitamin E content than peanut butter, it offers antioxidant benefits and is an excellent alternative for those with peanut allergies.

Almond Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~7g
  • Fat: ~17g
  • Calories: ~190

Cashew Butter

Cashew butter has a creamy texture and a mild, buttery flavor. It contains healthy fats, including oleic acid, which is beneficial for heart health, and is rich in minerals like copper and iron.

Cashew Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~6g
  • Fat: ~15g
  • Calories: ~180

Hazelnut Butter

Known for its distinctive flavor, hazelnut butter is a delightful choice that adds a nutty richness to various dishes. It pairs exceptionally well with chocolate and is a good source of vitamin E and manganese.

Hazelnut Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~4- 4.5g
  • Fat: ~18g
  • Calories: ~180

Sunflower Seed Butter

Not a true nut butter, but an excellent alternative for those with nut allergies. Made from roasted sunflower seeds, it offers a nutty taste with a hint of sweetness and is rich in vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium.

Sunflower Seed Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~6g
  • Fat: ~16g
  • Calories: ~180

Pecan Butter

Pecan butter has a sweet and buttery flavor, rich in monounsaturated fats that support heart health. It works well in both sweet and savory dishes.

Pecan Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~3g
  • Fat: ~20g
  • Calories: ~200

Pistachio Butter

Pistachio butter offers a vibrant green hue and a unique, slightly sweet taste. Packed with protein and healthy fats, it's an excellent choice for those looking to diversify their nut butter options.

Pistachio Butter (unsweetened, smooth):

  • Protein: ~6g
  • Fat: ~16g
  • Calories: ~180

Nut Butter Blends

For the adventurous foodie, nut butter blends combine the goodness of multiple nuts into one jar. These blends offer a symphony of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits, perfect for adding a gourmet touch to your meals and snacks. The nutritional profile of nut butter blends depends entirely on the nuts used and whether it is natural or has additives.

Incorporating Nut Butters Into Your Diet

Incorporating nut butters into your diet can be a delicious and nutritious way to boost your overall well-being. Whether you prefer the classic peanut butter or opt for a more exotic choice like hazelnut or pistachio butter, each variety brings its own set of flavors and health benefits to the table. Experiment with different types and blends to discover your favorite and enjoy the versatility these nut butters bring to your culinary adventures.

Where Can I Buy Quality Nut Butter In Canada?

Sure, nut butter in Canada is not hard to come across, but the quality brands often are. Whether you have a specific nut preference or want to try unique blends, we'll guide you to some of the best places across the country where you can discover and purchase high-quality nut butters. Join us as we navigate the options available and enhance your culinary experience, one jar at a time!

Nut Jar

Handmade in small batches in the heart of Vancouver but with locations all over Canada, Nut Jar offers entirely plant-based nut butters free from artificial elements, chemical compounds, or palm oil. Some products are enriched with superfoods such as açai, turmeric, and dates!

Manba

Mamba deserves all the brownie points for originality, offering a Haitian-inspired fusion of nut butter and hot sauce. With a range from mild to extra hot, their nut butters, named after the Haitian staple "mamba," are made from premium dry-roasted peanuts, organic cane sugar, and hot pepper.

Ayoub’s Dried Fruits & Nuts

Renowned for commitment to quality, Ayoub’s sources the finest nuts to craft 100% natural nut butters made from just one ingredient. Whether classic peanut butter, creamy almond butter, luxurious pistachio nut butter, or enticing Kernel Mix blend, Ayoub’s stands out for premium quality and authentic taste.

Mumgry

Originally designed for expectant mothers, Mumgry is a plant-based snack food business. Their snacks, available in varieties such as smooth peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter, and pistachio chocolate almond, are low in sugar and high in protein, iron, and calcium.

The Importance Of Choosing Natural Nut Butters

Unlike their processed counterparts, natural nut butters are crafted with simplicity in mind, typically containing just nuts and maybe a pinch of salt – no added sugars, preservatives, or hydrogenated oils. By opting for natural nut butters, you ensure that your body receives the wholesome goodness of pure, unadulterated nuts without unnecessary additives. This choice not only enhances the rich, authentic flavors of the nuts but also provides a higher nutritional value. Natural nut butters are abundant in essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to improved heart health, sustained energy levels, and overall well-being.

Moreover, steering clear of artificial additives aligns with a clean-eating philosophy, promoting a lifestyle that embraces transparency in food choices and a genuine commitment to nourishing the body with the best nature has to offer. Making the switch to natural nut butters is not just a culinary preference; it's a mindful decision that aligns with the pursuit of a healthier and more vibrant lifestyle.

Choosing The Right Nut Butter

Factors to Consider The nut butter aisle can be overwhelming. Consider factors like texture, added ingredients, and production methods. Some prefer the crunch of whole nuts, while others opt for the silkiness of well-blended spreads.

Texture Preferences:

  • Crunchy vs. Creamy: The age-old debate! Crunchy lovers revel in the texture of crushed nuts, while creamy enthusiasts savor the smoothness. Your choice depends on personal preference and the dish you're creating.

Added Ingredients:

  • Natural vs. Processed: Reading labels is essential. Opt for brands with minimal ingredients, avoiding unnecessary additives. Natural nut butters consist of only nuts, letting the true nutty flavor shine through.

Production Methods:

  • Roasted vs. Raw: The roasting process enhances flavor but may slightly reduce nutrient levels. Raw nut butters preserve more nutrients but have a distinct, less roasted taste.

Understanding Labels and Ingredients

Reading & understanding labels of store-bought products is a valuable skill to have, and this is no different with nut butters. Many nut butters on the shelves are harboring a ton of unnecessary additives which can be harmful to your health. Let’s take a look what you should be looking out for when choosing a nut butter:

Key Label Considerations:

  • Ingredients List: Check for simplicity. The fewer, more recognizable ingredients, the better.
  • Added Sugars: Avoid unnecessary sweetness. Opt for unsweetened or lightly sweetened options.
  • Stirring Required: Natural separation is a good sign. Nut butters that require stirring likely contain fewer stabilizers and preservatives.

Nut Butter For Active Lifestyles

Fueling an active lifestyle requires thoughtful consideration of nutrition, and nut butters stand out as a powerhouse of energy and essential nutrients. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or simply embracing a more active routine, incorporating the right nut butter into your diet can make a significant difference. Here's a brief exploration of how nut butters can elevate your energy levels, support muscle recovery, and keep you at the top of your game.

Protein-Packed Energy Boost:

One of the primary benefits of nut butters for active individuals is their impressive protein content. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, and a diet rich in this macronutrient is crucial for muscle repair and growth. Peanut butter, in particular, is renowned for its protein punch, making it a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts. Almond butter and cashew butter also offer substantial protein content, providing sustained energy for your workouts and aiding in post-exercise recovery.

Healthy Fats for Endurance:

Nut butters are abundant in healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats serve as a dense source of energy, ideal for endurance activities. The sustained release of energy from these healthy fats can help you power through longer workouts or intense training sessions without experiencing energy crashes. Walnut, pecan, macadamia & chia seed-infused nut butters, with their omega-3 fatty acids, contribute to cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation, supporting overall endurance.

Vitamins and Minerals for Recovery:

Beyond protein and healthy fats, nut butters provide a rich array of vitamins and minerals essential for muscle recovery and overall well-being. Almond butter, for instance, is a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that aids in reducing oxidative stress. Potassium, magnesium, and zinc found in various nut butters contribute to proper muscle function, electrolyte balance, and immune support, crucial elements for active individuals.

Preventing Workout Fatigue:

Nut butters can be a game-changer in preventing workout fatigue. The combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates present in these spreads offers a well-rounded source of energy. Whether spread on whole-grain toast or blended into a pre-workout smoothie, nut butters provide a satisfying and sustained energy release, helping you stay focused and energized throughout your physical activities.

Choosing the Right Nut Butter:

When selecting nut butters for an active lifestyle, opt for varieties with minimal additives. Look for options with only nuts and perhaps a touch of salt, avoiding those with added sugars or hydrogenated oils. Natural nut butters provide the pure, unadulterated goodness of nuts, ensuring you receive maximum nutritional benefits without compromising your health-conscious goals.

In conclusion, nut butters serve as an invaluable addition to the diet of those leading active lifestyles. Their protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals not only contribute to enhanced performance and recovery but also make for a delicious and versatile fuel source. So, whether you're lacing up your running shoes or gearing up for a strength training session, make nut butters a go-to element in your active lifestyle nutrition toolkit. Your body will thank you with sustained energy and optimal performance.

Addressing Common Nut Butter Myths

Let’s take a look at some of the criticisms of nut butter. It’s true to say that nut butters are high in calories and as with everything, should be followed with caution about serving size. However, despite their caloric density, the fats in nut butters are largely heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. As with everything, moderation is key, and the benefits far outweigh the misconceptions.

Nut Butters Cause Weight Gain

  • Reality: Nut butters, when consumed in moderation, are a great addition to a balanced diet. The healthy fats contribute to satiety, potentially reducing overall calorie intake. 

Nut Butters Are Unhealthy Due to High Fat Content

  • Reality: While nut butters are calorie-dense, the fats they contain are predominantly heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, contributing to overall cardiovascular health.

Myth: Nut Butters Should Be Avoided in Low-Carb Diets

  • Reality: Many nut butters, such as almond and peanut butter, are low in carbohydrates and can be incorporated into low-carb diets. They also provide valuable nutrients like protein and healthy fats.

Myth: All Nut Butters Are Created Equal

  • Reality: Different nut varieties offer distinct nutrient profiles. Almond butter is higher in vitamin E, while peanut butter provides more niacin. Choose nut butters based on your nutritional needs.

Cashew butter: A creamy spread made from roasted cashews. Perfect for toast, smoothies, or as a dip.

A Beginner's Guide to Crafting Homemade Nut Butters

Embarking on the journey of making your own nut butters at home can be a rewarding and delicious experience. Not only does it allow you to control the ingredients, but it also opens the door to an array of customizable flavors. Whether you're a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned food enthusiast, crafting homemade nut butters is a straightforward process that guarantees a fresh, preservative-free spread. Let's dive into the basics of creating your own nut butters and elevate your culinary adventures.

Ingredients:

  • Nuts: Choose your favorite nuts or a combination of them. Popular choices include almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Opt for raw, unsalted nuts and roast yourself to yield a fresher product and ensure that you have full control over the flavor and sodium content.
  • Optional Add-ins: Customize your nut butter with additional ingredients like honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, or a pinch of salt for enhanced flavor.

Equipment:

  • Food Processor or High-Powered Blender: A robust food processor or blender is essential for achieving a smooth and creamy texture. Ensure it has enough capacity to accommodate the nuts without overcrowding.
  • Roasting Pan or Baking Sheet: Toasting the nuts before blending helps enhance their natural oils and deepen the flavor. Use a roasting pan or baking sheet to roast nuts in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 8-15 minutes, depending on the nut type.

Instructions:

Blanch the Nuts: For an extra layer of flavor and a smoother texture blanch your nuts by briefly boiling the nuts and then removing their skins. By blanching, you not only achieve a milder taste but also eliminate the bitterness associated with the skin. This process enhances the creaminess and allows the natural nutty essence to shine through. To blanch, simply boil the nuts for a few minutes, drain, and then rub them in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.

Roast the Nuts: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they become fragrant and slightly golden. Allow them to cool before proceeding.

Blend the Nuts: Place the roasted or raw nuts into the food processor or blender. Blend on high, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides. Be patient; the process may take several minutes. The nuts will go through stages of being chopped, turning into a coarse meal, and eventually transforming into a smooth butter.

Add Optional Ingredients: If desired, add any optional ingredients like sweeteners, spices, or flavorings during the blending process. Continue blending until the mixture reaches your preferred consistency.

Store the Nut Butter: Transfer the freshly made nut butter into a clean, airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Natural nut butters may separate over time, so give them a stir before each use.

Tips:

  • Experiment with different nut combinations to create unique flavors.
  • Adjust sweetness and saltiness to your liking.
  • Get creative with add-ins like cocoa powder, chia seeds, or dried fruits.
  • Store-bought nuts can be used, but make sure they are fresh and high-quality.
  • Enjoy your homemade nut butter on toast, in smoothies, or as a delightful dip for fruits and veggies.

By following this simple guide, you'll be on your way to savoring the pure, homemade goodness of nut butters, tailored to your taste preferences and dietary needs. So, roll up your sleeves, crack open your fave bag of nuts and get blending!

nut butter dog

Nut Butters For Pets: Can Dogs Eat Nut Butter?

Just like their human companions, dogs can relish the deliciousness and health benefits of some nut butters. This canine-friendly spread isn't just a delectable treat for your furry friend; it can also serve as a nutritious addition to their diet. Before you reach for that jar, let's explore how nut butters, when given in moderation and with the right considerations, can make tails wag and provide a variety of health benefits for your four-legged family member.

What Kind Of Nut Butter Can Dogs Eat Safely?

While many nut butters can be safe for dogs in moderation, it's crucial to be aware of potential hazards. Peanut butter is generally considered safe for dogs, but it's essential to choose varieties that are unsalted and free of added sugars or artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, which can be extremely toxic to dogs. Check out our guide on the difference between doggy peanut butter and human peanut butter.

Other nut butters like almond butter, cashew butter, and sunflower seed butter can also be given to dogs in moderation provided they don't contain harmful additives like xylitol. It's advisable to opt for natural, unsweetened, and unsalted varieties. Always check the ingredient list to ensure there are no harmful substances.

Remember that moderation is key, as nut butters are calorie-dense and can contribute to weight gain in dogs if given excessively. Additionally, if your dog has any allergies or specific dietary restrictions, consult with your veterinarian before introducing new foods, including nut butters, into their diet.

Which Nut Butter Should I Never Feed My Dog?

Avoid giving your dog nut butters made from walnut, pecan, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. These nut butters can be challenging for dogs to digest, and macadamia nuts, in particular, contain a toxic element, making them unsafe for consumption.

What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Nut Butter To My Dog?

Feeding your dog nut butter in moderation can offer various health benefits. Nut butters, such as peanut butter, are rich in healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients like vitamin E and niacin.Let's explore in more detail how these delightful spreads can bring joy to your furry friend!

A Spoonful of Goodness:

Nut butters, particularly peanut butter, are a hit among dogs due to their rich and savory taste. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients, nut butters offer a wholesome addition to your pup's diet. However, it's crucial to choose natural and unsalted varieties, steering clear of products with added sugars, xylitol, or excessive salt, which can be harmful to dogs.

Protein Boost for Pups:

Dogs, like humans, need protein for muscle development and overall well-being. Nut butters, especially those derived from nuts like peanuts and almonds, can provide a protein boost. Protein supports your pup's muscle growth, aids in tissue repair, and contributes to a healthy coat. 

Healthy Fats for Shiny Coats:

The healthy fats found in nut butters are beneficial for your dog's coat and skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, present in certain nut varieties, promote a glossy and well-moisturized coat, reducing the risk of dryness and irritation. This is especially beneficial for dogs with skin sensitivities or allergies.

Mental Stimulation with Treat Toys:

Nut butters can be utilized as a delightful stuffing for treat-dispensing toys, providing mental stimulation and entertainment for your pup. Whether it's a classic Kong or another interactive toy, filling it with nut butter turns a regular treat into an engaging and tasty challenge, keeping your dog entertained and mentally sharp.

Introduce in Moderation:

While nut butters offer numerous benefits, moderation is key. Treats, including nut butters, should constitute no more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake. Nut butters are calorie-dense, so it's important not to overindulge your pup. Check with your veterinarian to ensure that any specific dietary needs or restrictions are considered.

Check for Allergies:

Before introducing nut butters into your dog's diet, check for any signs of allergies or sensitivities. Start with a small amount and monitor for any adverse reactions such as itching, digestive upset, or changes in behavior. If your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction, consult your veterinarian promptly.

In conclusion, nut butters can be a tasty and nutritious treat for your furry companion when chosen and introduced with care. From protein and healthy fats to mental stimulation, these spreads can enhance your dog's diet and provide enjoyment. So, the next time you reach for the peanut butter jar, consider sharing a small, dog-friendly dollop with your loyal friend – it might just become their new favorite treat!

Culinary Uses For Nut Butter:

In the world of culinary exploration, few ingredients are as versatile and delightful as nut butters. Beyond being a delightful spread for toast or a quick dollop for your morning oats, nut butters can transform both sweet and savory dishes into culinary masterpieces. Let's delve into the diverse and creative ways you can incorporate nut butters into your kitchen, elevating your lifestyle with each delectable bite.

culinary uses for nut butter

Ways To Use Nut Butter:

1. Smooth and Velvety Sauces:

Nut butters, particularly almond and cashew varieties, can be the secret ingredient to creating lusciously smooth and creamy sauces. Whether it's a savory stir-fry sauce, a Thai-inspired peanut sauce, or a satay dipping sauce, the addition of nut butter brings depth of flavor and a luxurious texture to your culinary creations.

2. Wholesome Smoothies and Shakes:

Take your morning smoothie or post-workout shake to the next level by adding a spoonful of nut butter. Whether it's almond, peanut, or even a decadent blend, the nutty richness not only enhances the flavor but also contributes a satisfying creaminess. Pair it with bananas, berries, or a dash of honey for a nutrient-packed and indulgent treat.

3. Nutty Salad Dressings:

Transform your salads into gourmet delights by whipping up a homemade dressing with nut butter as the star ingredient. A simple vinaigrette with almond butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a hint of Dijon mustard can elevate even the most basic greens into a culinary masterpiece. Drizzle over salads, grains, or roasted vegetables for a burst of flavor.

4. Decadent Desserts:

Nut butters are a baker's best-kept secret, bringing richness and flavor to an array of desserts. From classic peanut butter cookies to peanut butter oatmeal squares and cashew butter cheesecakes, the possibilities are endless. The natural oils in nut butters add moistness to baked goods, ensuring a delightful texture in every bite.

5. Savory Stir-Fries and Curries:

Infuse your savory dishes with a nutty twist by incorporating nut butters into stir-fries and curries. Whether you're crafting a Thai peanut chicken stir-fry or a creamy almond butter curry, the result is a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing.

6. Nut Butter Noodles:

Upgrade your pasta game by tossing cooked noodles with a savory sauce made from nut butter. A peanut or cashew butter-based sauce, combined with soy sauce, garlic, and a dash of chili, creates a mouthwatering coating that clings to the noodles, offering a delightful fusion of textures and flavors.

7. Creative Nut Butter Blends:

Don't limit yourself to single-nut varieties – experiment with nut butter blends. Mix almond and hazelnut butter for a Nutella-inspired spread, or combine peanut and cashew butter for a unique twist. These blends not only add complexity to your dishes but also introduce a gourmet touch to your culinary repertoire.

Incorporating nut butters into your culinary endeavors opens up a world of possibilities, turning everyday meals into extraordinary experiences. From savory to sweet, breakfast to dinner, the rich, nutty goodness of these spreads invites you to explore and experiment, ensuring that your lifestyle is not just nourishing but also filled with the joy of culinary creativity. So, grab your favorite nut butter and let the culinary adventure begin!

Recipes Using Nut Butter:

Here are some links to our favorite nut butter recipes:

To Wrap Up

And there you have it – a comprehensive guide to nut butters that goes beyond the basics, delving into the nuanced world of flavors, health benefits, and culinary delights. Whether you're a fitness enthusiast, a culinary wizard, or just someone who appreciates a good spread, nut butters offer something for everyone. Enjoy your nut butter journey!

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