Peanut butter is surprisingly simple to make, and you can make lots of it. Whether you choose to shell and peel your nuts depends a lot on your patience.
There's something therapeutic about shelling things, whether it's peas or pecans. You can chat while you're doing it, or listen to the radio, yet still feel you're achieving something. So your first step towards making peanut butter could be to buy 600g of monkey nuts and spend a few hours popping the fibrous pods and stripping the kernels of their papery skins. You know what, though? There may come a point - quite soon, frankly - when you wonder why you're on this infernal treadmill.
The safer option is to pick up 450g of roasted, unsalted, already shelled peanuts. Either way will make enough peanut butter to fill a large jar. You'll also need some mild-flavoured oil (ideally peanut), salt (optional), honey (ditto) and a food processor - the more powerful the better.
Place half the nuts in the processor, blitz them for about 15 seconds, so they break up and the machine stops jumping, then add the rest (keeping back 100g or so if you prefer your peanut butter on the chunky side). Blitz for another 15 seconds, add ½ tbsp oil and let the machine run at whatever speed keeps the peanut fragments moving. Given a chance, they'll form a compact mass on the sides and base of the processor, so you'll need to keep stopping the machine and scraping the contents back into play. Add another ½ tbsp oil after five minutes or so, keep processing, and eventually - it could take 10, 15 minutes or more - you'll find that instead of powder, the blades are churning a moist paste. You may need to an add another ½ tbsp oil along the way, but don't rush it. The nuts themselves contain oil that will be released by the bashing.
When you're happy with the consistency, add the peanuts you set aside at the beginning (skip this step if you didn't) and blitz just enough to break them up. Salt to taste (or not), add 1-3 tbsp honey if you have a sweet tooth, and run the machine as slowly as possible - just quick enough to mix everything together.
Spoon into a jar and store in the fridge for up to a month.
Next week: bacon
Phil Daoust is a food writer based in England and France.
Photo: There's oil in them there nuts. Photograph: RedHelga/Getty Images