To make a jar of peanut butter…🎵🎶🎵
Does anyone remember that song from Sesame Street? Oh wait, I bet a cursory search on the Internet will answer that…
And yes, apparently lots of people remember that little tune and have posted that video. Here it is, if you’re feeling nostalgic:
Ok, so the crux of my post today questions the integrity of natural peanut butter. Really (this isn’t painting!). I’m talking specifically about the Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter that I grew up with (until my middle school years when mom let Peter Pan into our cabinets) and still buy to this day. Now, I understand that the oil sitting on top on the peanut butter is a natural occurrence, because as the jar kindly informs us, “oil separation is natural.” However, my question is, how long does Smuckers hang on to this peanut butter before it reaches our grocer’s shelves, to have achieved such a perfect level of oil separation in every jar?
Seriously. I like “natural” stuff. It’s really all I buy. But, natural is really popular right now. The less shiny the package, the more pastoral the illustration, the more poetic the package narrative – the more akin I am to buy it. Call me a sucker. Or call me an earth mama rooting for the little guy. I’m probably a little of both (wait, I’m nobody’s fool…I know exactly what I’m doing when I buy that stuff;).
So, here is where my skepticism and hypothesis steps into the mix. Yes, the oil from peanut butter separates, but is it possible that Smuckers, on the notion of looking more raw, more natural, more…less fiddled with, has added that little layer of peanut oil on top of the peanut butter themselves? I mean, when you get it home and mix it up, it never separates to that degree again! How do all of the other jars all have the exact same amount of oil separation, and again, how long does it take for this separation to occur?
Well, folks, after a fairly more in depth cursory Internet search, I can find nothing to substantiate my suspicion. Really, this is a trite and frivolous concern…but, that doesn’t negate my curiosity in the matter. Really, I guess the most important thing to relish the fact the stuff is just really plain and simple, peanuts and salt. If you buy the other crap, which is really just spread , you’re getting a bunch of sugar and hydrogenated oils (blahhhh!). If you hit the middle ground and get the Skippy or Jif Natural No-stir stuff, you’re getting something with maybe some evaporated cane juice (which I’m ok with) and palm oil to emulsify, which albeit is a more “natural oil”, but it’s harvested really unsustainably and you’re bulldozing orangutans environments if you buy it (which I’m not ok with).
So, lesson of the day? I must be a little bit of nuts to care about that jar of peanut butter🎵. In the meantime, I’ll stick with the all-natural stuff and suffer having to stir the yummy goop. This is making me hungry for peanut butter (& it’s breakfast time!) On to the kitchen I go.
For anyone who’s interested, I did find a delightful and informative post by Peanut Butter Boy:
Apparently, he sells his own peanut butter, which I’ve never tried, and knows quite a bit about the stuff. He gives some good tips, such as turning a new jar upside down so the oil can rise to the bottom of the jar – which I have done and it works pretty well (you still have to stir, and he says that as well).
Alright, tah tah for now…peanut butter and (the kids are still sleeping) painting, here I come !
4 thoughts on “It takes a lot of little nuts…”
I think you’re on to something here! Indeed, the oil in those jars of Smuckers in just too uniform in quantity to be a natural separation. Enter the Smuckers Peanut Butter factory and there you will probably find toward the end of the production line, before label and lid are applied, the machine that gives each jar a precise squirt of oil, at lightning speed, right on top of the peanut butter. If we’re wrong in our assumption, I would think they would have to have some sort of ‘curing’ room, where the jars are held for x-amount of time to achieve that “natural separation”, then allowed to be distributed to the stores. Because you’re right! They are all the same. Because it is sort of a pain to stir all the goop together, then get it back in the jar, I rarely buy that peanut butter anymore. I opt for some with no hydrogenated oils, a little cane sugar, and a little salt, because I’m food lazy. But isn’t it funny how marketing ploys are so convincing at first glance that we fell for this likely deception for years!
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Yep, you knocked the nail on the head, Benny. You see what I’m getting at! It’s funny though – you’re the one that instilled in me buying that pain-in-the-ass peanut butter.
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Charles just offered his 2 cents on this brain-stimulating topic of oil on top of the peanut butter. It’s another angle I had not ever considered. The oil makes the jar look fuller and they can put less peanut butter in every ‘natural’ jar. Bingo! I think he has something there!
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Ha ha ha! I bet that’s it! I hadn’t even thought of that, but leave it to the entrepreneur to see that angle.