Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts, salt.
As I was stirring a new jar of peanut butter this morning I was inspired to write about it. I've used natural peanut butter for so many years that I've sort of forgotten about the other stuff.

When I was a child I remember hearing my aunt say that natural peanut butter was awful and that it tore the bread when she tried to spread it. I'm not sure how accurate her recollection was. Maybe she poured the oil out or didn't mix it in properly. I don't know but my experience was the opposite. It was smooth and creamy even after being refrigerated.

The one we most often buy is at Trader Joe's. It's simple and affordable. $1.99 to be exact. I understand having to stir the separated oil back into the peanuts may seem like a bother to some but it's really a simple step that takes just a minute to do. Also, by turning the jar upside down for a while prior to opening makes it even easier to combine. Additionally, there is natural versions that don't require mixing. Just be sure to double check the ingredients on those ones to be sure it's not a natural peanut butter wannabe.

And speaking of wannabes, I've noticed the big brand peanut butters have come out with "natural" versions. Or have they? I was curious so I decided to compare ingredients. Check it out:

Trader Joe's ingredients: Peanuts, salt.

Skippy Natural ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt.

Skippy regular ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed) to prevent separation, salt.

Jif Natural ingredients: Peanuts, sugar, palm oil, contains 2% or less of: salt, molasses.

Jif regular ingredients: Roasted peanuts and sugar, contains 2% or less of: molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (soybean and rapeseed), mono and diglycerides, salt.

As you can see, the two competing big brands don't offer a truly all natural peanut butter. Not sure why. Even the makers of the famous Goober Grape, Smucker's, makes a real natural peanut butter.

Peanut butter is one of those foods that is naturally nutritious and delicious all on its own. No need for added stuff. My aunt must have got a bad batch or was having a bad day because natural peanut butter is anything but awful. So throw out the Jif and the other stuff, the kiddos won't mind, I swear!

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