It was a sad, sad day when I realized Luke had an intolerance to peanuts and tree nuts. Peanut butter and almond butter were staples in my diet and giving them up meant a little less joy in my daily eating.
Sunflower seed butter (also known as simply “sun butter”) has replaced my beloved peanut and almond butters, even if it may have been begrudgingly.
The biggest problem with this substitution is the cost. Where I live the cost of a small jar of sunflower seed butter varies from store to store, but the cheapest I’ve found it is just under $6.00 and the most expensive (which happens to also be the most convenient store for me) is $7.50. Outrageous, right?
After months of eating 1-2 jars a week (Yes, I do. My food choices are really limited, and my breastfeeding appetite is voracious and it satisfies me…what can I say?) I decided to finally try making my own.
Let’s take a look at approximate price difference between the popular store-bought brand and a jar of the homemade variety:
Umm…hello? Why didn’t I try this sooner? This seems to be a theme with me. (Remember the homemade almond milk?)
Making homemade sunflower seed butter is super easy, inexpensive, and quick. You’ll need a food processor, which is the most versatile kitchen appliance for a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t have one, get one! Then, it takes about 10 minutes or less to turn the seeds into butter. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned in my experimentation:
- For me, raw sunflower seeds did not work. They would not turn into butter even after 10 consecutive minutes of processing. I had the same result when I tried to toast them myself.
- I have had the best results with roasted, salted sunflower seeds.
- I haven’t needed to add any oil, but the seeds I have used have been roasted in oil. If you get dry roasted seeds, you may need to add oil.
- Longer processing time=creamier butter
- If you are going to use the sunflower seed butter quickly, there is no need to store in the refrigerator. If you want it to last longer, keep it in the fridge.
- I have liked the results in the food processor better than the blender.
There’s no recipe needed for regular, plain sunflower seed butter. You just put the seeds in a food processor and let it run for about 10 minutes. This time will likely vary a lot depending on the size of your machine, how many seeds you use, and how thick vs. thin you like your butter.
In the photos above, I took the pictures at the beginning, 1 minute, 4 minutes, and 8 minutes.
I do like to doctor my homemade sunflower seed butter up a bit. Here is a recipe for a vanilla-cinnamon variety that I just love.
Vanilla-Cinnamon Sunflower Seed Butter
Makes about 12 ounces
3 cups roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey (I use raw honey)
Put the sunflower seeds in a food process and allow the machine to run until the seeds are a smooth, creamy consistency. This should take at least 8 minutes, but possibly even longer depending on the strength of your processor. With the machine running, add the cinnamon, vanilla, and honey. Store in a container at room temperature for about a week, or longer in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
This recipe is so easy you can even do it with an active baby around. See?