Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peanut Butter!

I adore peanut butter. I eat it almost every day either in oatmeal, a protein shake, on a sandwich, spread onto crackers, rice cakes, or celery, in sauces, in baking, or just scooped straight from the jar. It is a super versatile food, and a staple food for me so I figured I share some information about it on the blog!

 Regular peanut butter that you would find most commonly on the grocery store shelves usually contains stabilizers (in the form of hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil, or other oils) to keep the natural peanut oil from separating from the peanut solids. It also usually contains a lots of added sweeteners and salt to enhance flavour. This makes a very healthy product actually not very healthy at all and may be why peanut butter has a bad reputation for being an "unhealthy" food that you shouldn't eat when trying to lose weight. It saddens me that people think of peanut butter like this because it really isn't the case if you eat peanuts or peanut butter in their natural form! They are actually super healthy, very high in protein, healthy fats, and fibre, just to name a few!

I made the switch to natural peanut butter a couple years ago because I didn't want to eat something with a bunch of added oils, sugars, and preservatives that eliminate the health benefits of the peanut. Now when I eat "normal" (but really not normal) peanut butter it just tastes weird to me and way too sweet! If you've never tried natural before then I recommend giving it a try - before long you won't even want to go back to the unnatural kind. Natural peanut butter is made only with peanuts (and sometimes salt is added), and you can buy it crunchy or smooth. You can now find it at pretty much any grocery store by the other peanut butters, or even just buy some plain or dry roasted bulk peanuts and make your own in a food processor. One thing to note is that when you first open a jar the natural peanut oil will have separated from the solids, so you have to stir it to incorporate them before using it, and store it in the refrigerator to slow the natural separation. However, they also now sell no-stir natural peanut butters that eliminate this problem. 

Either type of peanut butter is delicious in baking and you really can't tell the difference!
Did You Know?

Peanuts are not technically nuts! They are actually part of the legume family because they grow beneath the ground, as opposed to nuts like walnuts, almonds, etc. that grow on trees (which are why they are sometimes referred to as "tree nuts").

Check out this website dedicated to peanut butter:

I have tons of great recipes featuring peanut butter, so if you'd like to test some out then click the "peanut butter" category link on the left hand side of the page or type "peanut butter" in the search box. Enjoy!

*Note: I do not own any of the pictures in this post

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