Use this simple trick to get free peanut oil from a jar of “natural” peanut butter. It makes the peanut butter more flavorful and healthier, too. Get the recipe below plus tips on buying peanut butter in bulk.
Faithful readers may recall that I was living in a mixed marriage. Yes, we had two open jars of peanut butter in the house: his smooth Jif and my crunchy, all-peanut variety.
That was before I ran across an alarming section in Crescent Dragonwagon’s must-have Bean by Bean book, in which she explains the hidden dangers of no-stir peanut butter. They contain trans-fat laden hydrogenated oils that keep the spread from separating at room temperature, saving you a one-time stir (bolding mine):
Why, then, do peanut butter manufacturers use hydrogenated oils? … It doesn’t take much partially hydrogenated oil to serve the manufacturer’s ends, so there’s a loophole: If the amount of hydrogenated oil is less than 0.5 grams per serving, the company can legally say “0 grams of trans fats” or “no trans fats,” though of course it’s not true. A “serving” of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons; those rascals can get away with putting as much as 8 grams of trans fat in a 16-ounce jar, a jar that comes with a label announcing proudly, “No Tran Fats.”
Rascals indeed! No amount of trans fat is safe. The Mayo Clinic staff writes:
When it comes to fat, trans fat is considered by some doctors to be the worst type of fat. Unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women. Here’s some information about trans fat and how to avoid it.
To think trans fat had snuck onto our breakfast table nearly every day and sometimes lurked in the Spicy Peanut Noodles!
On the other hand, Jif was ready to use out of the bottle and is more flavorful than my current stir-it-up peanut butter variety Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter. In other words, Jif has more sugar and salt. Compared to Jif, Santa Cruz seems oily, even though they have the same number of fat grams per serving. Manufacturers use trans fat in part because it is solid at room temperature.
Recipe for J-Style Peanut Butter
Could I enhance the Santa Cruz PB so one jar would please my Jif lover, keep me happy, and be healthier? Yes! I just replace a tablespoon of peanut oil with a tablespoon of sorghum and add a quarter-teaspoon of salt. You could use agave nectar or the liquid sweetener of your choice. Plain sugar is too grainy. Instead of throwing the unneeded peanut oil away, save it in a jar to use in stir-fries, curries, and cakes. Label the peanut-oil jar and keep it in the refrigerator.
We still keep his-and-hers jars of peanut butter. Mine has a green rubber band around it and salt but no sorghum, because I like a savory breakfast. A strap wrench, as shown above, loosens tight lids.
Easy way to cut sodium by 35% and fat by 26%
What’s the nutritional difference between Jif peanut butter, plain Santa Cruz peanut butter, and my Santa Cruz peanut butter J-Style? See the table below. (Read the comparison column like this: J-Style peanut butter has 65% of the sodium, 74% of the sugar, etc., as Jif.) What an easy way to cut your sodium and sugar intake without losing any flavor! You only have to stir natural peanut butters once if you keep them in the refrigerator. Even if you forget and leave a stirred jar on the counter, no separation will be noticeable for several hours.
|ingredient||Jif||Santa Cruz||Santa Cruz J-Style||% J-Style to Jif|
|total carbohydrates (g)||8||6||7||90%|
|saturated fat (g)||2.5||2.5||2.3||93%|
|total fat (g)||16||16||15||94%|
Tips on Buying Peanut Butter
I buy peanut butter by the case to get a 10% discount. I watch for sales and then get two cases at a time, locking in the sale and saving an additional 10%. For example, say peanut butter costs $5.69 a jar and goes on sale for $5.39. I’ll save 30 cents a jar for the sale and 54 cents a jar for the bulk purchase. That means I save 84 cents a jar or $10.19 on the case, plus twenty cents or so on the sales tax. That’s wildly affordable! Buying peanut butter in advance means I never run out and the oil has time to rise to the top.