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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Peanut Butter Files

If you actually know me in real life, you know I love peanut butter! In my ongoing quest to eat more healthy, I have switched to natural peanut butter. I tried to look online to see some sort of review of peanut butters but I haven't found any such thing. Well now there is. I've taken it upon myself to sample all sorts of peanut butters until I find my one true love. Lets' begin.

NB: All these reviews are for the Crunchy variety unless otherwise noted.

Trader Joe's Organic
Saltiness: Medium
Crunchiness: Lame
Texture: Very Smooth
Overall: 8/10
Trader Joe's does a great peanut butter! It's every bit as creamy as Peanut Butter & Co (see below), and is more flavorful. It loses big points due to its inexcusable lack of crunchy bits. Comeon Trader Joe! Get with the program and make Crunchy like you mean it!

Woodstock Farms Organic
Saltiness: Medium
Crunchiness: Below Average
Texture: Slightly Gritty
Overall: 7/10
This has a really nice, roasted flavor. It also seems like some of the red "skins" to the peanuts are in there, which may be why it falls victim to that scary gritty consistency that afflicts some natural PBs. It still is tasty with a balanced saltiness, though not quite crunchy enough for me. Woodstock Farms also makes an organic "classic" peanut butter, which does contain palm oil, but is a good transition if you're not quite sure about making the jump to totally natural.

Peanut Butter & Company Crunch TIme
Saltiness: Medium
Crunchiness: Slightly Above Average
Texture: Very Smooth
Overall: 9/10
This is a really awesome one! It's made by a peanut butter restaurant in Greenwich Village, but you should be able to find it in a local store. The texture is very creamy and it has a slightly sweet, light flavor. The only improvement I would make would be more crunch and maybe a little more salt. I haven't tried their creamy version, but I imagine it would be perfect if you are a creamy eater.

Peanut Butter FAQ
Q: Why Natural?
A: Natural peanut butters have no hydrogenated oils, which are those nasty toxic trans fats! Just peanuts, and salt if you want it. It's great for purists!

Q: It's so OILY though!
A: Don't get grossed out. The oil settles on top, but with a good stir it blends in just fine. Flip the jar upside-down to store and it makes stirring easier. Most natural peanut butters actually have less oil than normal grocery store peanut butters because there is no hydrogenated oils added.

Q: So how do you do your peanut butter sandwich?
Rudi's Organic Bakery European Multi Grain bread. Gobs of crunchy peanut butter. A drizzle of honey or some kind of berry jam (never grape!!). Here's the trick: put the whole thing in the toaster oven for a few minutes to get warm and melty.

Other favorite peanut butter carriers: Granny Smith apples, bananas, and graham crackers.

Q: What's your favorite recipe?
A: The Elvis Sandwich.
Butter two slices of bread.
Peanut butter the other side of each slice.
Fill with sliced banana.
Grill on medium heat until browned on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside.

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