As I have mentioned here before some time back, nuts are one of my favorite foods. Not only are they delicious, filling and versatile, but they are also chock full of nut-rition (that's delibertate hyphenation, not a typo, by the way!) They are all a rich source of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble anti-oxidant, and they all contain almost all of the B-complex vitamins (all of them are there, with the exception of vitamin B12. Can't have everything though, can you?)
I love all nuts but I have got into Brazils quite a lot recently, which from what I have discovered, seem to be some of the most nutritious of all. They are very high in mono-unsaturated fats, vitamin E and especially in selenium. In fact research shows that Brazils are the highest natural source of this mineral. Although toxic in large quantities, as a micronutrient it is very important in preventing heart disease, thrombosis, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancers. It also plays an important role in the functioning of the thyroid gland in humans. So those all seem to me to be good reasons for including Brazil nuts regularly in your diet.
For a different kind of nut butter, I decided to make Brazil butter recently and the result was heaven! It’s a bit more unusual than peanut or almond butter, for example, one you don't see in the shops, so I would recommend it for that reason. Here is how to make it, if you are interested:
Take around 100g of raw Brazil nuts. I toasted them first, for some more flavour. All you have to do is first fry them gently in a dry pan for a few minutes, turning once or twice, until they are lightly browned (or you can put them in a pan in the oven and roast them if you like for a few minutes, but I think it is easier to burn them this way, and obviously you don’t want them black and charred, like lumps of pure carbon!) Let them cool slightly, before the next step.
Put the nuts, toasted or untoasted, in your food processor and add around half a teaspoon of salt (you can also add a little vegetable oil, if you like, which helps the mixture to come together). Then it is basically just whizzing them round, blend, blend, blend, for ages! You start blending and all you get at first is powder, and this stage lasts quite a while. ( I only have a small and not very efficient blender at home, not a Vitamix or other food processor, so it took forever for me to make this recipe! If you do this in a Vitamix I am sure it is a lot quicker and easier).
I was blending for what seemed like a couple of hundred years and getting nothing but nut powder, so I thought it was not going to work! But then I noticed that it was starting to clump, and the oil was starting to come out of the nut dust, so I persevered. You have to keep scraping down the sides of the jug, by the way, and making sure all of the mixture is coming into contact with the blades. Just do this every so often and persevere.
Eventually I saw that the mixture was becoming more creamy, so I carried on and hey presto! It started to form into a definite nut butter. Once it starts doing this, you can either carry on until it is really creamy and smooth, or leave it chunky, depending on how you like it. Once you have removed it from the blender/Vitamix, if you don’t eat it all at once (tempting!) it should keep in a covered container in the fridge for several days afterward.
Picture courtesy of www.peanutbutterandpeppers.com