Lathe-Turned Almond Butter

Pure almond butter comes with the somewhat stilted admonition “Must stir product. Oil separation occurs naturally.” I’d just opened a new jar and was busily (and laboriously) stirring when I realized we have the technology:

Lathe-turned Almond Butter
Lathe-turned Almond Butter

I installed the chuck’s outside jaws to grab the jar lid.

About three hours at 50 rpm, the lathe’s slowest speed, did the trick. We now have the smoothest, creamiest, best-mixed almond butter ever.

In a month or so, I’ll chuck up an unopened jar to see how well it works without any manual intervention.


17 thoughts on “Lathe-Turned Almond Butter

  1. My problem with nut butters other than peanut butter isn’t so much the lack of stirring as the “you want me to pay HOW much per kilo?!?” factor.

    1. Of course peanut butter also needs to be stirred if it’s pure; I didn’t mean to put that as an opposition. :-P

    2. Aye! It’s something of a luxury item around here; I traded a nasty peanut butter jones for a much smaller almond-butter-on-celery addiction.

      1. I mostly try to stick to nuts in the shell. They’re not terribly expensive (even bio), more fun, and they keep much longer. My only problem is nutcrackers.

        My preferred nutcracker is some kind of adjustable water pipe wrench. I’m not sure what they’re called in English but here’s a picture of one:

        The problem there is that it doesn’t make for a very nice table guest.

        1. Two words: Vise-Grip!

          After you do a few, your hand will know the right adjustment to shatter the shell without crushing the contents. Hickory shells all shatter into large fragments, often releasing entire half-nuts at the touch of a nut pick.

          The shells explode, so wrap your other hand around the nut to contain the shrapnel!

          I just bagged up four pounds of shells for bacon smoking; it’ll be another three years before we get another big harvest.

          1. I have a few of those, including one presumably not unlike the model pictured. I think they’re slightly worse, but it might just be that my West German water pump pliers are better quality tools without anything intrinsic one way or the other.

            They’re sufficiently similar to have essentially all of the same positive and negative attributes: they’re great for actually cracking nut shells (not nuts; don’t crack the nuts :-P) but they’re also somewhat… inappropriate outside of their tool environment. :-D

            1. I think the name is channel lock pliers… as to making them more presentable, maybe paint to some funny color or ask a girlfriend to knit decorative handles :)

            2. Channellock seems to be a specific brandname for water pump pliers (which is the or at least a correct term). :-)

            3. You mean a Vise-Grip isn’t a proper kitchen utensil?

              Why have I not been informed of this?

  2. Maybe you can use this as leverage towards a second lathe, you know, one for “cleaner or more sanitary jobs” like this. You could even call it the “kitchen lathe” if it helps the justification ;-)

  3. What if you were to run it at higher speeds? Would it centrifuge the solids out?

    1. Spinning slightly faster than 50 rpm produced an obvious void down the middle of the jar, so you’re probably right: a jar with a solid almond cylinder around an oil-and-air core. Faster speeds would decorate the shop with almond butter and coat it with almond oil …

  4. I like it!

    How about ver 2.0: the Ed-o-matic Nut Butter Stirring Machine(TM), fabricated from 3D printed parts, using an Arduino to control a Mabuchi motor or maybe a small stepper…

    If I had the 3D skilz, I would try it myself. Am thinking of a Vee-shaped frame with spinning rollers. Kind of like one of those hot dog grilling machines that you see at the ballpark, except bent upwards into a Vee, with the nut butter jar cradled by the rollers. The Vee should accept jars of various diameters, which would be handy.

    The Arduino could have various spin menus: slow, fast, ramp up and down, intermittent, etc. Maybe have the option to turn in reverse for users in the Antipodes :-)

    Seems like fodder for at least a couple of columns :-)

    1. Micromark actually sells a small set of powered rollers to keep your model paints mixed, although without any fancy controls.

      fodder for at least a couple of columns

      You come very close to the heart of the thing … [grin]

  5. An appropriate use of technology!

    This might be a use for those 1970s-era rock tumblers that every yard sale seemed to feature a while back

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