Peanut Butter

How is peanut butter made?

Peanut butter was invented in the late 1800's as a protein for the people whose teeth were so bad that they couldn't chew meat. The first step in the process of making peanut butter is that the peanut is roasted. Then it is cooled so that it does not lose its oils. After that, the outer surface, and the inside, or heart, is removed. The nuts are then grinded into a creamy butter. Any other ingredients that are added are then added, such as sugar, salt, and vegitable oils. The peanut butter is then packaged and sent off to the grocery stores for you to buy!

About 1%-2% of the population has allergies to nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, and pecans, but up to 20% of children will outgrow their peanut allergies. Around 7% of children with peanut allergies have siblings with peanut allergies also. The allergic reactions that someone with these allergies may have depend on the severity of the case. Some people may just get a slight rash, while others may have trouble breathing, feel light-headed, or possibly pass out. Those who have nut allergies are obviously allergic to peanut butter as well. For those with peanut allergies, there is a special product, similar to peanut butter that actually isn't made from peanuts at all. SunButter is made from sunflower seeds. Many products are made with peanuts, and many non-peanut products are made in the same facilities as peanut products. This makes it necessary for those with allergies to be very careful when selecting food because they must also check to see if the product they are eating was made in the same place as a peanut product.

Health and Nutrition Facts
Beside that fact that peanut butter is high-calorie, it is actually very good for you, especially if it is refined. Earlier this January of 2009, there was an outbreak of salmonella typhimurim. Rarely, peanut butter will have bacteria in it called salmonella. Salmonella causes sallmonellosis. Those with salmonellosis may have high fever, aches and pains, vomiting, and fatigue. These symptoms only last about 4 days. Natural peanut butter usually lasts about 9 months before the expiration date, while unnatural peanut butter lasts up to two years, when unopened. It is not necessarily bad for you to eat expired peanut butter. Stomach aches or heartburn is about the worst thing that could happen if you eat expired peanut butter. To see nutrition facts for popular peanut butter brands, click on the links below.

Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter
Jif Peanut Butter
Skippy Peanut Butter

To read an interview about the health facts of peanut butter with Rob Caruson, a food specialist with Nestle foods, click on this interview link.

Taste Testing

I decided that it would be it would be interesting to see what people say about peanut better, so I wrote up a survey and gave it to some friends and family. I also did a taste test with Smuckers, Jif, and Skippy. Depending on whether the surveyor liked creamy or crunchy better, they got taste tested on those three brands of peanut butter in creamy or crunchy. 70% of the surveyors said that they like creamy peanut butter more than crunchy. 35% said that they preferred natural peanut butter. 45% said they preferred processed, and 20% said they had no preference. I noticed that surveyors who were under the age of 20 preferred processed peanut butter. Sample 1 was Jif, Sample 2 was Smuckers, and Sample 3 was Skippy. 30% of the people I taste tested liked Skippy the best. Most all of those people were surprised when they found out that sample 3 was Skippy because they had thought that they like Jif more. 60% said that they liked Jif the best. About half of those people knew that they liked Jif more, and about half thought that they would have liked the natural peanut butter (Smuckers) more. Only 10% liked Smuckers, the natural brand. Most people said that it was sticky and they did not like the texture. We even gave some to one of a tester’s dog who sat there trying to get it off of the top of its mouth for 20 minutes. One thing many people commented on is how similar Jif and Skippy are. This I thought was very interesting. I learned a lot about peanut butter from this experience.