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Is there anything that screams “summer” more than a PB&J sandwich? Peanut butter paste was created over 125 years ago by a Canadian. It’s been a staple in American homes since the Kellogg company patented peanut butter a few years later.
Not only does it taste good bewtween two pieces of bread, it is a popular ingredient in baked goods, smoothies and an endless amount of delicious ways. The versatile food is full of protein and healthy fatty acids. However, store-bought peanut butter often has added unhealthy fats and other additives.
More and more people are opting to make their own peanut butter. It’s healthier and often cheaper. Read on to find out how to make homemade peanut butter and the healthiest brand to purchase if you prefer to buy pre-made peanut butter.
What is the Healthiest Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a go-to snack for healthy eating, but the ingredients in many peanut butter brands aren’t always healthy. When you look at the ingredients label, you will be surprised to find additives and preservatives you’d never think were in the peanut butter, such as sugar and hydrogenated oils.
Healthy peanut butter only needs one to two ingredients – peanuts and salt. Salt is necessary for peanut butter, but you can purchase a brand that guarantees low-sodium or is completely sodium-free.
People often buy the brand that themselves loved as kids. Jiffy is among the most popular brands, but it’s not the healthiest.
One of the healthiest brands of peanut butter available in stores is Once Again Unsweetened Peanut Butter.
This brand only has 50 mg of salt in it, though it also offered salt-free products. The Once Again brand has zero added sugars and uses organic peanuts. In addition, the jar is made of recycled glass, reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
You can also find many healthy peanut butters off-brand. Many store brands are offering organic options now, so be sure to read the labels and ingredient lists.
If you're using a peanut butter with artificial sweetener to lower your sugar intake, pay close attention to the sweetener. If you’re on social media, you may have seen a lot of posts regarding dogs and Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in the place of sugar. While Xylitol is safe for people (as far as we know,) it can be deadly to dogs. And many people use peanut butter to give their dogs medicine or just as a treat.
Xylitol is also commonly used in gum, breath mints and even ice cream. Luckily, there are only currently four brands that use Xylitol in their peanut butter.
Brands to avoid if you have dogs are:
- Go Nuts Co
- Krush Nutrition
- Nuts ‘N More
Best Homemade Peanut Butter Recipes
One of the best parts of making your own peanut butter is choosing the kind of peanuts you want to use. Your options include organic, dry roasted, salted, unsalted or maybe whatever peanut is on sale that week.
However, even a plain bag of peanuts can have unwanted preservatives or additives. Monosodium glutamate (MSG!), sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, and hydrolyzed soy protein are just some of the unhealthy ingredients that might be lurking in the container of peanuts.
Once you’ve decided on your choice of peanuts, all you need is honey, salt and a drop of oil to make your own peanut butter. Many people choose to use a food processor to mash the peanuts. Raw peanuts require shelling before they can be used, but stores sell pre-shelled peanuts, too.
You will need the following ingredients:
- 20 ounces of shelled peanuts, roasted
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
How to make smooth peanut butter:
- Put shelled peanuts, honey and salt in the food processor.
- Scrap the sides of the food processor from time to time to get all the peanuts crushed
- Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
How to make chunky peanut butter:
- Process the peanuts, honey, and salt in the food processor
- When finished, add a few tablespoons of chopped peanuts to the smooth mixture
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator
If you prefer, you can even buy raw peanuts and roast them yourself in the oven.
How Long Does Homemade Peanut Butter Last?
Unlike store-bought peanut butter, homemade peanut butter doesn’t contain the preservatives that prevent it from spoiling. Homemade peanut butter should be stored in an airtight container, such as a jar with a lid, and kept in the refrigerator.
If stores properly, homemade peanut butter can last up to six months once the jar has been opened. You may find that you need to soften homemade peanut butter before using. You can scoop out a bit & leave it to soften prior to use. That will help the peanut butter spread easier on bread or unheated foods.
If you’re using the homemade peanut butter on toast, the warmth from the toast may be enough to allow for smooth spreading.
10 Delicious Ways to Use Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has had a glow up in recent years. It’s used on way more than just PB&J sandwiches. Here are 10 delicious ways to use peanut butter:
The most popular way to use peanut butter after PB&J is using it in dessert recipes. Pies, cookies and brownies are just a few of the desserts that can be made using peanut butter. You can even make peanut butter protein bars.
Peanut butter can give smoothies a boost in flavor and protein. You can even add it to spinach smoothies for a healthier smoothie with a decadent taste.
3. Dipping Veggies
Peanut butter adds a rich flavor and a creamy texture to veggies such as celery and carrot sticks. It pairs just as well with fruits such as sliced apples or sliced pears. If you have children, peanut butter-dipped veggies is a great way to encourage them into eating healthy foods.
4. Elevate Your Pancakes
Before you put it on the hot skillet, swirl in peanut butter into your pancake mix for a tasty treat.
5. Homemade Energy Bars
Energy bars are great sources of protein but they can be pricey at the grocery store. Make your own energy bars using peanut butter to hold the bar together.
6. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
A rumored favorite of The King, Elvis Presley, banana and peanut butter sandwiches is sure to be a favorite brown-bag food. Quick and simple, you can add jelly or even chocolate chips as a third ingredient.
Granola is another popular snack that can run up the grocery bill. Make your own at home with peanut butter as the main ingredient.
8. Asian-inspired noodles
Many Asian pasta dishes include adding peanut butter, along with other regional spices.
9. Add to Oatmeal
Swirling in peanut butter makes oatmeal less bland and more enjoyable.
10. Spread On Crackers
Another classic. Who doesn’t have fond memories of peanut butter and crackers for an after-school snack?
What Other Foods are Cheaper to Make at Home?
Depending on the size of your family, the cost of groceries to feed all the mouths can really break the bank. In many instances, purchasing ingredients separately and making food from scratch can save money in the long run. Especially if the food can be stored and used for different recipes or snacks.
Peanut butter isn’t the only food that’s cheaper (and healthier!) to make at home. Some of the other foods that are cheaper to make at home include:
Ingredients: apples, sugar and cinnamon. You can peel the apples and put all of the ingredients into a food processor to make homemade applesauce.
Ingredients: bread, melted butter, garlic. Homemade croutons are a great way to prevent wasting stale bread or the ends of the bread no one likes for sandwiches. Cook garlic in butter and rub onto the chunks of bread. Bake in the oven and you will have a homemade crunch to your salad.
Ingredients: oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. What’s a salad without dressing? You can make a simple vinaigrette using these ingredients. Or buy a packet of ranch dressing mix and follow the directions.
Ingredients: avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and lemon juice. Add ingredients to mashed avocado for this popular dip.
Ingredients: maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, pecans, M&Ms, raisins, cranberries and sunflower seeds. Trail mix is the perfect snack for a summer road trip. You can customize the ingredients to your tastes, adding more of your favorites while skipping your least favorites.
Rising food costs and unhealthy additives are two reasons why so many people choose to make their own food if they have the time and culinary skills to do so. Peanut butter is a great protein addition to any diet. However, many store-bought brands add unnecessary sugars and salts that turn a healthy snack into yet another unhealthy one.
Making peanut butter and other food at home ensures that only healthy ingredients are added. You don’t need to read the labels because you already know what’s inside. Bring back the natural simplicity in foods with these homemade ideas.
Do you just love making peanut butter or another snack at home? Feel free to share your DIY recipe down below!