Choosing the Right Peanut Butter (including homemade peanut butter)

Peanut ButterPeanut butter is found in about 75% of our homes.  Since it is so popular and there are choices, we thought we would help you choose the right peanut butter for your home.   We will tell you a little about peanut butter’s nutritional value, how to store peanut butter, and how to make your own homemade peanut butter and then you will be armed to choose the peanut butter that is best for you.

You can choose from four different types of peanut butter:

Regular peanut butter: This is the peanut butter most often found on the grocers’ shelves.  By law, this peanut butter must contain 90% or more peanuts with no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives.   Some brands may contain sugar, salt, and stabilizers—often hydrogenated oil.  Though a small percent of the product, the hydrogenated oil keeps the peanut oils from separating and improves shelf life.  Two tablespoons of this peanut butter typically contains 16 grams of fat with 3 grams of that being saturated along with 190 calories.

Natural peanut butter: Natural peanut butter is 100% peanuts (plus salt) and contains no hydrogenated oil.  The oil will separate from the peanuts and must be stirred back in.  (Turning it upside down before use will help distribute the oil.)  It must be refrigerated.  You will find this peanut butter in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

We prefer this peanut butter both for baking and the table because of its fresh peanutty taste and because it contains neither sugar nor hydrogenated fat.

Peanut butter spreads: Peanut butter spreads contain only 60% peanut butter.  Check the label carefully to see what else these spreads contain.  Typically, they do not have to be refrigerated.

Homemade peanut butter: You can make your own peanut butter in your blender.  Homemade peanut butter is made by blending roasted, unsalted peanuts with salt (about 1/2 teaspoon per cup), and a couple tablespoons of peanut or safflower oil.  The added oil helps make the peanut butter smooth.  You can leave it chunky or keep processing until it is smooth.  You can also use salted peanuts but leave out the additional salt.

Regular peanut butter can be stored in a cool, dark cupboard for up to twelve months.  Once opened, it should be used within six months.  Natural peanut butter should be kept in the refrigerator and used within six months.  Homemade peanut butter should be kept in a closed container in the refrigerator and used within two weeks.

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