April 18, 2021
Is almond butter actually butter?
Good question. I get it a lot. The idea that something can be called butter without actually being butter creates a smear of cognitive dissonance in the average person.
Short answer - no.
Longer, better, more interesting answer - included here in this 6 minute read. It’s a good morning coffee companion, and the basis for your water cooler talk for the day. Or it can be a light, fun Facebook post to balance out the political nonsense and cat vids that dominate the feed.
So, let’s get started. Got your coffee? I guarantee you’ll be making toast by the end of this ;)
Remember those commercial ads (on old archaic TV channels no less!) for that margarine brand that claimed to be so good you’d never know it wasn’t butter? It was a crafty pitch, making their slogan the name that represented their brand:
I can’t believe it’s not butter! (May I have a shocked emoji face in here please?!)
Well actually, I can believe it, and I still don’t really see what all the fuss was about. I mean really, what’s wrong with butter? It’s far better than coagulated hydrogenated oil for my morning toast n’ jam.
But if those are only two options - butter or margarine, and margarine that’s supposed to be like butter but actually isn’t - we’re living in a pretty sad state of affairs as far as spreadable go.
But oh baby, there’s a big bad-ass field out there in the world of spreadable, beyond ideas of wrongdoings and right-doings. Shall we meet there with a jar of almond butter and a big-ass spoon? (thank you for that, Rumi).
Yes! But let’s get something out of the way first - it’s not actually butter, and that’s probably why you’re so skeptical about it.
An almond is a nut. Well, technically (botanically) it’s a drupe. It’s composed of 3.5 parts: the meat, the middle shell, the outer shell (also called a hull), and a thin leathery layer, also known as the seed coat (that’s the 0.5 part).
The meat, specifically, is where we take all the goodness of almonds from. But again, here’s another brain-stumper: Almond meat isn’t actually meat. Well, it’s not animal meat. It’s plant meat. And when you grind that almond meat, it becomes a paste so rich and nutty and delicious that your taste buds will think they’ve died and gone to heaven.
Every day I pulverize my nuts to a thick, mouthwatering paste (if you’re a guy reading this, don’t say that out loud). The grinding produces moderate heat, allowing for an exquisite seamless texture to emerge, a perfectly balanced combination of silk, delightfully fine crunch, and a delectable roof-of-the-mouth stick that capture the hearts and tongues of kids everywhere, including the overgrown adult ones.
My girlfriend describes my almond butter as the stuff of “blanket forts and shadow puppets” - a way to be a kid amongst all this real-life adult nonsense stuff we’re supposed to buy into.
The only reason it’s ever called almond butter is because its texture resembles butter. Namely, it’s spreadable like butter. Perhaps almond spread would be a more fitting name, but I want to distinguish Zippilicious nut butters from “spreads” for a very important reason.
Most commercial brand spreads contain so many sketchy ingredients that I would intuit are unnecessary, but come to think of it, maybe they’re not. Maybe salt and oil and sugar and guartiaminatehydroxine #5 & #13 actually are necessary to help mask the flavor of poor quality nuts.
Boo hoo for those brands. I don’t recommend eating them (and guartiaminatehydroxine #5 & #13 aren’t real things, I made them up to exemplify the ridiculousness of what we deem edible these days!).
Reader/Confused browser: So, wait a minute––there’s nothing but nuts in here?
Reader/Confused browser: There’s no oil?
Reader/Confused browser: No sugar?
Me: Heck no!
Reader/Confused browser: No salt?
Me: Nope (and I can see the light starting to flicker.)
Reader/Confused browser: No butter?
Me: No butter. No bad stuff. Just spreadable, blanket-fort-bedable bliss.
You’re welcome. Check it out here. And as much as I love almonds, I’m not partial to them. I have others too!
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