In the past several years, nut products have become all the rage. An excellent alternative to dairy products, nut milk, butter, and paste offers a higher nutrient content, less fat, and fewer allergens than standard milk products. 

And thanks to advanced nut processing equipment, they’ve become more popular than ever before. In fact, the global peanut butter market was worth a staggering $3 billion in 2017, and it’s only grown since then. What’s more, the average American consumes about 6 pounds of nut products each year, with about half of that being some form of nut butter. 

If you’ve ever wondered how nuts are processed, and whether it’s possible to make nut milk from butter or paste, here’s what you need to know:

Why People Love Nut Butters

A wide variety of nuts in assorted traysWhen we process nuts by grinding them to make them into nut butters, we change the way people consume and interact with them. Grinding the nuts makes it easier for people to consume them, digest the nutrient content of the nuts, and incorporate them into their daily diets. 

In addition to being convenient and easy to consume, nut butters also pack a dense punch of nutrients. Nut butters are high in fiber, micronutrients, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids, to name a few. They’re also excellent sources of protein, and are the perfect grab-and-go snack for people who need something healthy and filling in the middle of a busy day. 

Today, the average 2-tablespoon serving of nut butter typically contains about 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and carbs between 0-8 grams. Whether it’s cashew butter, almond butter, or even hazelnut butter, a growing number of people enjoy these tasty treats. 

What is Nut Milk?

Nut milk is, in essence, exactly what it sounds like: milk made from nuts instead of dairy products. Today, most commercial nut milk contains about 5%-15% almonds, soy, or cashew matter, with the rest of the mixture water, sweeteners, binding agents, and thickeners added. 

Homemade nut milks generally have a slightly higher concentration of nut products. Usually, homemade nut milks are made up of about 30% nut products. These mixtures have no additives unless the home cook has included them.  Home cooks can make nut milks with a mixture of 1 1/2 cups water and three tablespoons nut paste. The resulting drink will have about 12% nut matter, if the cook leaves it unstrained. 

Dry Roasting: Batch vs. Continuous

Before nuts can be processed, they must be roasted. Dry roasting is either done by the batch, or via a continuous method. Here’s a breakdown of each:

  • In the batch method, peanuts are roasted in massive lots in a large, moving oven that reaches temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The amount of time the peanuts are roasted depends on the size of the batch and the desired purpose. 
  • In the continuous method, peanuts are fed into a hopper, where they’re roasted, cooled, and ground into peanut butter. This method is quick and less labor-intensive. It also creates a more uniform roasting.
  • The batch method allows for the different kinds of nuts or nuts meant for separate applications to be roasted separately, which is a positive for companies making nut blends. Batch roasting is also popular since peanuts and other nuts include lots of different moisture levels and may need special consideration throughout the roasting process, which batch roasting can deliver.

While batch roasting may work for some production goals, continuous roasting is better for others. 

A Note on Granulating 

Granulating is another important niche method of nut processing. Granulating refers to the process of making nuts into an ingredient which most people have seen used for the top of ice cream cones. It involves grinding nuts to uniform size and not making a paste. The key to granulation is not producing a lot of fine material. While that seems straightforward, there are not many nut processing equipment technologies available for this. While dicers are applicable and practical, companies also use  Angle disintegrators

Investing in the Right Nut Processing Equipment

Nut processing equipment is critical to ensuring proper nut processing. Investing in the right materials is also essential. When you partner with a company like Corenco, you know you’ll get high-quality, durable nut processing equipment you can rely on.