How to Make the Switch to Natural Peanut Butter

One of the things i’ve done without any modicum of regret is the switch to buying only all-natural peanut butter. It tastes like a completely different spread, much richer in pure peanut flavor, and missing all of that orangy preservative aftertaste. Not only that, but the first few spreads from the jar are gloriously creamy and delicious.

However, many people get turned off by the oil at the top of the jar. That’s why i’m writing this post – after a few years of eating this stuff for occasional PB&J’s, i’ve got a few tips to share that are more or less obvious in hindsight.

First off, to get a good initial spread, it’s really important to thoroughly mix the peanut butter paste with the oil. I usually jab downwards with a knife to the bottom of the jar, which allows the oil to seep down into the paste. After doing that for a while, it lowers the oil level somewhat so that you can move on to jabbing downwards then pushing around the jar. Since the paste is normally pretty hard, it’s easier to do this once the oil loosens up the spread a bit. After that, it’s a simple matter of stirring.

This will give you a great jar of peanut butter, until you get to about the halfway point. You’ll notice that the oil tended to float to the top, and now you’re left with a half jar of very stiff peanut butter. The second tip is just to go out and get some run-of-the-mill peanut oil, and add it into the jar, repeating the stirring process again.

The last problem that I sometimes deal with is that i’ve sometimes got a soft bread and cold PB, which can easily tear the bread when I try to spread it evenly. This becomes an issue when you refrigerate your PB after opening, especially when getting towards the bottom of your jar. Although some oil would help, if you’re feeling lazy, here’s an easy trick. You can take your butter knife and pre-spread the PB on the sides of the jar. Just take the big clumps of PB and smooth them out along the sides of the jar as if it were a really stiff bread. The more you work with it, the more pliable it becomes.

So anyway, I hope that if you’ve been previously dissuaded from using natural peanut butter because of the oil or the stiffness, you’ll come back to it and give it another try. That’s all for this food-related post.

3 thoughts on “How to Make the Switch to Natural Peanut Butter

  1. The problem is really that I almost never use peanut butter in sandwiches. I just use it in cooking and baking, and I’d always heard that you couldn’t substitute natural peanut butter for skippy or jif. Looks like i’m wrong, a bunch of people are saying that it’s no problem to substitute, I guess the only place you’d want to be careful is if the item you’re baking expects the sugars that are in processed peanut butter.

  2. What I’ve found that works pretty darn good:

    1) Mix the peanut butter with a plastic chopstick. (for whatever reason, it really agitates things and redistributes the oil quite nicely.)

    2) Refrigerate. (Keeps the oil semi-solid and the bacteria count low)

    3) Use real bread. (None of that reject Wonder bread stuff, go get a loaf of either the sourdough or shepherd’s bread from TJ’s).

    4) Warm the knife/spoon. (dip it into a cup of steamy water for a few seconds to soften just what you need. Plus the wet knife means the peanut butter won’t stick to it.)

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