I have a slight problem with hoarding nut butter. I don’t know what it is about the creamy, salty/sweet, nutty, rich, and stick-your-mouth-together-ness of nut butters, but I eat at least 1tbsp per day. Usually on my morning porridge, where it melts into all the little gaps in between the fruit. It raises my happiness levels more that is probably normal when I get a spoonful of purely nut butter and thick, dense, oats. *has to leave to eat a spoonful of nut butter and then returns*.
I can’t completely remember when I switched to Meridian nut butter, but this is probably one of the longest lasting food relationships in my life so far. When I first began eating nut butter I, naively, purchased the own brand low fat peanut butter. Although it tasted okay, all of the palm oil, added sugar, salt, preservatives, stabilisers etc. were not good for me. Or my digestive system. I moved on to Whole Earth full fat peanut butter, and although this brand is still great, was later pointed towards Meridian peanut butter. Which is purely nuts, and sometimes a pinch of salt. You know how they say when you finally fall in love you get a feeling like you’ve never had before? Things are suddenly different, the world is all rainbows and unicorns, and glitter falls from the sky etc? I had that moment. With this nut butter.
Once I’d tried the peanut butter my nut butter collection suddenly exploded, as Meridian grind up many different innocent nuts into butters. So I have accumulated a ridiculous amount of nut butter. I have actually walked out of stores with my bag making such a chinking sound, attracting curious looks from security, that people assume it is filled with vodka for a hardcore pre-drinking session. In fact I am preparing for a hardcore nut butter eating and DVD session. I am about to share with you below every nut butter I own, along with what I think of each. Meridian also make nut butter bars, great for snacks on the go, and I have some mini reviews of these at the end…
Smooth Peanut- £1.99 (Tesco)
I use this (and my beloved chunky PB) in recipes regularly:
Chocolate PB Chickpea Cookies http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/chocolate-peanut-butter-chickpea-cookies.html
Many overnight oats http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/the-overnight-oats-collective.html
PB, Banana, and Berry French Toast http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/vegan-peanut-butter-banana-berry.html
Banana and Peanut Butter Microwave Cookies http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/banana-peanut-butter-microwave-cookies.html
Banana-Nut Latte Smoothies http://ecstaticallyem.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/banana-nut-latte-smoothie.html
It’s strong on the peanut taste, a 100% pure peanut taste, not created by peanut flavouring. The smooth peanut butter is slightly runnier than the chunky, as is to be expected, but this only makes it even more ideal for spreading, adding to baking, smoothies, and sauces. I often whisk this with a little soy sauce, hot water, chilli flakes, and lime juice, to make a wonderful satay-style stir fry sauce, or salad dressing.
Chunky Peanut- £1.99 (Tesco)
Texture wise I actually prefer this peanut butter for spreading onto things; the chunks make it a satisfying eat on toast, rice cakes, and oatcakes. There is a generous amount of nutty chunks scattered throughout this nut butter, unlike other brands who give you one nut distributed throughout the whole jar. The peanut butter is possibly the most savoury tasting of the nut butters, which means it goes well both in savoury dishes, and to complement sweet fruit such as berries and apple.
Almond- £2.79 (Tesco)
If you like a little saltiness to your nut butter then head straight for this jar of goodness. Almond butter goes really well with pear in particular, as it tastes slightly earthy, and in desserts or baking. It’s also high in protein, and so ideal for any vegetarians or vegans. I would say that this is the smoothest, and most liquid of all of the nut butters; make sure you give it a good stir up. It is also possibly one of my favourites, and makes an appearance nearly every day on my porridge, particularly if I’m adding ginger to the oats. Ginger and almond butter were made for each other, whether they know it or not.
Cashew – £2.79 (Tesco)
Following on from the saltiness of the almond butter, this is for anyone with a sweet tooth. I wasn’t expecting cashew butter to taste this sweet, but it is- in a pleasant way though, not a cloying and sickly affair. I use cashew with banana awful lot, and in baked oatmeal. It’s smooth and easy to spread, and so would be ideal on toast or rice cakes as well. If you do use this in baking, I recommend paring it up with coconut or raspberries.
Hazelnut – £6.69 (Holland & Barrett’s)
Okay then nutella lovers, this one’s for you. Mix this with a little cocoa and drizzle on to yoghurt or toast, and it tastes like nutella, I swear. My first thought on licking a spoon covered with this was that it tastes exactly like ferrero rochers. It was magical. This nut butter has a smooth base, and then a good smattering of chopped hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are a pretty expensive nut, and so this jar did cost me slightly more than the other nut butters. An eye-watering amount to a student (okay, about £4 more). It was a definite treat, and not something I would repurchase too regularly due to the price, but I feel this is worth a try if you’re a hard-core nutter.
TIP! When stirring up the nut butter get your spoon right down to the base of the jar, this prevents those last few spoonfuls being harder than cement to spread.
And now the equivalent of licking the leftover nut butter from the spoon, that extra little review of the Meridian bars…
The bars contain more ingredients that the butters, obviously, otherwise you would simply be pouring nut butter from the wrapper into your mouth. However, they are still better than the additive laden cereal bar alternatives. They also contain up to 8 grams of protein.
Cashew Butter Bar- £1.49 (Holland & Barrett’s)
This is the sweetest bar, and a pale golden colour. There is a generous amount of chopped cashews throughout, and I reach for this when I want to nix a sugary food craving.
Peanut Butter Bar- £1.19 (Holland & Barrett’s)
This is the densest of the bars, again with a good chunkage rating. I reckon that it’s also the most filling, and so perfect for my mid-afternoon snack.
Almond Butter Bar- £1.49 (Holland & Barrett’s)
For some reason I used to choose this bar post workout class (when I was at uni, where workout classes were readily available. Unlike here at home). Something about the taste just speaks to me post workout. It’s also the highest protein of the bars, and so perfect to get those muscles repaired.
TIP! If you want to feel like your bar is a bit more of a treat, then why not shape into nut truffles? Break the bar into four and roll each piece into a ball…
Meridian have just released three new nut butter bars, although I haven’t seen them in the shops yet. The flavours include peanut and cocoa, peanut and banana, and peanut and berry. Each and everyone sends my mouth directly into extreme watering mode. The first two in particular. I can’t wait to get my hands on them, and add them to my collection. Then let you all know what they’re like up here.
But, to finish up, here are some of my nut butter’s finest moments…