Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to take a comfort classic to the next level: PB&J from scratch!

Most of us ate many, many, many peanut butter & jelly sandwiches while growing up and most of us still like them. But, after a while we yearn for something different, something exciting, something more refined. To update the classic PB&J sandwich, try making the peanut butter and jelly from scratch. It's a lot easier and more fun than you might think!

Making Peanut Butter from scratch

1. Assemble your ingredients

You only need three or four ingredients to make delicious peanut butter: Peanuts, Vegetable Oil (may as well make it Peanut Oil), Salt and Sugar (optional).

2. Roast 2 cups of peanuts

Simply remove the peanuts from their shells and spread them out on a baking pan. Bake for approximately 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees, shaking the pan every 2 minutes to ensure they don't burn. Allow the peanuts to cool before moving to the next step.

If you'd rather not roast your own, you can buy roasted unsalted peanuts at the store.

3. Blend the peanuts and oil in a food processor

Combine the 2 cups of roasted peanuts and 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes until the mixture starts to look creamy. During this step, you may need to stop the processor and wipe the mixture off the sides once or twice. Keeping blending until it's as smooth as you like.

4. Season it up

Once the peanuts and oil are blended, season it with a pinch of salt and, if you want it sweeter, a half teaspoon of sugar.

5. That's it, you just made peanut butter!

Set your fresh peanut butter aside in a container and get going on the jelly.

Making Grape Jelly from scratch

1. Assemble your ingredients

All you need to make grape jelly is 3 pounds of seedless grapes and 3 cups of white sugar.

2. Prep and cook the grapes

First, wash and drain the grapes. Then, cook them in a large pot for 10-15 minutes over medium heat until the grapes are soft. Allow the grapes to cool a bit before moving to the next step.

3. Strain the grapes through a jelly bag and collect the liquid in a pot.

What's a jelly bag? It's a cloth strainer you use to catch the grape skins and pulp while collecting the fresh juice that filters through. You can pick one up at a hardware store or online.

Put about 2 cups of grapes into the jelly bag at a time and strain by pushing the grapes down with a spoon or squeezing with your hands. All told, this should yield approximately 2 cups of fresh grape juice.

4. Cook the juice and incorporate the sugar

First, bring the grape juice to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium/low and add 2 cups of sugar. You should not let the mixture boil once the sugar has been added! Stir constantly until all the sugar is dissolved.

5. Pour the mixture into jars, process them and let them cool

Once all the sugar has been dissolved, pour the mixture into jars, clean the rims of the jars, place lids and seals on the jars and then put the sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

After that, all you need to do is cool the jars in the fridge and your jelly is ready to go!

Put it together any way you like

And finally, channel your childhood sandwich-making skills to make a great PB&J. We recommend buying some nice bread from the store, slathering it with your delicious homemade peanut butter and jelly, cutting it any way you like (remember how cool it was to get a sandwich cut on the diagonal?), and eating it as fast as possible.

Ok, let's do this! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.