Friday, April 23, 2010

Homemade sunflower butter

As I have mentioned before, my daughter has a slew of food sensitivities. One of the things she actually can eat is sunflower seed butter. Have you read the ingredients on a jar of this nut butter recently? It is either sweetened with evaporated cane juice (not bad) or organic sugar. Organic or not, sugar is sugar and not something you want to be feeding your body. J has been fighting this cold for weeks and I am convinced that the added sugar she is consuming is the culprit (sugar is known to suppress the immune system). While I don't want to take away one of the few foods that she can actually eat, I also don't want her to be consuming added sugar. So, like many times before, I decided to make my own.

I went to Whole Foods and purchased organic hulled sunflower seeds. FYI, they were $2.39/lb...a jar of organic sunflower butter averages around $6/jar. I covered the bottom of a small cookie sheet with a single layer of sunflower seed kernels tossed with a drizzle of olive oil. I put the sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring them halfway through, until they just started to brown. Salt and let them cool for 10-15 minutes. Dump the kernels in a food processor, add about a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of maple syrup. Puree until the oils start to release from the kernels, approximately another 10 minutes. If the butter looks too crumbly, add another drizzle of olive oil. This is what my finished product looked like:

It was inexpensive (less than the manufactured kind), no added sugar, and it passed the Jana taste test. Yet another experiment I can call a success!


  1. wow..I am very impressed with your "no sugar" rule for your family. My own girls didn't have sugar until age 1....and they were never sick until close to age 2. I kid you not. Sugar definitely suppresses the immune system!!! We did notice in France that sugary foods are not consumed as much here...also maybe why they appear healthier than Americans....we saw NO obese French people.
    I am going to give a friend of mine the name of this blog..she is really into cutting out sugar from her family's diet...hope you don't mind!!

  2. Faith - Not at all! The more the merrier! :) And sugar is certainly evil in my mind. Not only does it suppress the immune system, but it's also the preferred fuel for cancer cells. That's enough for me to avoid it at all costs!!! :)

  3. P.S. Thanks for your encouragement. I am often met with resistance or looked at like I have three heads when I tell people I don't eat sugar or feed it to my family.

  4. Wow! I'm impressed too. How long did it take you to completely phase sugar out of your diet? And I'm wondering if you just go coffee, no sweets....or substitute...I'm looking for alternatives to sugar now. Even the organic, raw kind is no good? your blog as usual!

  5. Elena - It's been a process. I'm actually not sure how long it took. Since J has been born, we have phased it out completely. I substitute Sucanat for sugar in baked products (I have yet to try agave nectar because it upset my stomach when I was putting it in my coffee) except for those I make for J. J has a real sensitivity to Sucanat, so I use honey or maple syrup in her stuff. I use Stevia in my coffee. The organic, raw kind is better than refine sugar for sure, but I have read that other natural alternatives are better (i.e. Sucanat, agave nectar, stevia. Honey is similar to raw sugar).