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I have enjoyed peanut butter for a while so I thought I may as well try butters made from different nuts too. A tub of the Meridian smooth almond butter cost me 2.29 in a local health food shop, while Tesco sell the same size jar for 2.39 at the time of writing.(170g)
The almond butter consists of roast almonds that have then been ground until smooth with a little sea salt. That's it. There's no added oil or sugar. A product as pure as this can hardly help taste natural. What surprises me is that while almonds are not my favourite nuts, and I hate many things made from them such as marzipan, I find almond butter to be one of my absolute favourites. Roasting them intensifies the flavour I suppose, and the salt added probably does the same. It's perfect if you want a spread that's full of taste but not too sweet. Meridian suggest using it on crackers and crumpets and as an ingredient in shakes, cakes and bakes. I haven't tried it on the first two but I do like it on toast, and as a replacement for peanut butter in recipes for cookies. I adjust the sugar a little to take into account the almond butter isn't sweetened but otherwise I use it in the same way. I have also used it to make a ice cream shake. It made a thick drink but one with a nice flavour - when mixed with chocolate ice cream in particular.
When you first open the jar, you may notice that there looks like some oil settled on the top. This is the natural oil from the nuts and even home made nut butters often separate like this when you store them. It may not look appealing but you can reassure yourself it's a sign of a natural product. Stirring the jar around with combine the oil back into the butter or if there seems a lot you can pour some off without the storage qualities seeming to be affected. Oil aside I like the texture of this. It is described as smooth, and it is true that there are no large crunchy bits present. But if you look at the butter closely, you can see it has a slightly granular appearance. It doesn't feel bitty in the mouth but if you rub it between your fingers (odd I know!) you can feel a few pieces. It seems as though that although the nuts have been ground to a powder, sometimes the powder wasn't very fine. That doesn't matter to me as you don't seem to notice the tiny "bits" when you have it spread on toast for example. Overall it is quite thick and because the flavour is intense you don't need a lot.
If you like almonds, then this "butter" is definitely worth a try.