Peanut butter is one of the most enjoyable spread. It serves many other functions besides being spread on toast. It is also easy to make at home.
It is made from blending or processing peanuts until they are reduced to a creamy smooth mass. The secret is in exercising patience as it can take quite a while.
A crucial tip during preparation is to clean the peanuts well. Sort them out and remove any discolored nuts as they may affect the taste. Soak them in water, preferably overnight to ensure all impurities are removed.
Peanuts can contain a lot of clogged soil and dirt. Dry them well and roast for a few minutes in the oven. Roasting is a great way of bringing to life the oils and also imparting a nutty flavor to the peanut butter.
The hearty peanut butter boasts of numerous health benefits. Here is a brief outline.
- Contain monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which are considered the healthy fats. MUFA protect body organs and more so the brain as they form a protective covering and also nourish the organs. Monounsaturated fats are highly beneficial for diabetic patients as they help improve insulin sensitivity.
- Has substantial amounts of antioxidants which protect the system from free radicals. This helps to safeguard against chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease and inflammation.
- The high levels of potassium protect the heart by minimizing blood pressure in blood vessels.
- Promotes satiety when consumed. It is a great choice for diet and weight management. Feeling full reduces the chance to overeat, hence weight loss will be achieved.
- A rich source of protein, which is crucial in normal body development. Proteins are responsible for repairing the body and enhancing cell development.
How to Use Peanut Butter
- As a spread on toast and sandwich.
- As a filling for muffins or buns.
- Used to make savoury sauce, which is a delicacy in various communities.
- Combined with dough to make cookies.
- In smoothies.
- In candies and sweet treats like ice cream.
How Best To Store
The major defining factor in prolonging the shelf life of peanut butter is how you store it.
The high concentration of oils present in peanut butter can make it go rancid. Therefore, proper storage techniques are imperative.
Turn It Upside Down
The best storage condition is in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight and heat. Unopened cans do not require refrigeration. They can keep well in the pantry or kitchen cabinet for close to nine months.
A popular storage technique that has taken the world by storm is upside down storage..
Proponents of this trick argue that oil separation can be mitigated by keeping the jar upside down. It is believed that the oils will distribute equally in the tin as opposed to keeping the jar in the usual way.
t is always good to experiment on your own first before accepting what others have stated.
Opened Peanut Butter Tins
In case you have opened and used your peanut butter, you can still store the rest in the pantry.
Ensure the tin is always covered tightly with its lid to prevent impurities. Place any opened tin away from direct sunlight or heat as these can hasten rancidity, affect the quality or alter the composition of the butter.
When left in the pantry or room temperature, opened tins can last for three months. You can also opt to refrigerate the peanut butter to prolong its shelf life.
Well refrigerated peanut butter can last for up to nine months.
Sealed Peanut Butter Tins
Unopened tins will keep well both in the pantry and refrigerator. Typically, they can last for a whole year past the use by date, whether stored in the pantry or refrigerator.
Homemade Natural Peanut Butter
This type has a shorter shelf life since it has no commercially added preservative agents. It is advisable to minimize wastage by making small amounts for your regular use at home, unless you plan to share with friends and family.
Smooth and Crunchy Peanut Butter
Texture may not really influence the shelf life. Both smooth and crunchy peanut butter will keep well for similar duration. In the pantry, these two will last for a whole year.
When refrigerated, they can last up to 18 months. Opened smooth and crunchy varieties have a shorter shelf life. At most, they will remain intact for up to 4 months in the pantry and 8 months in the refrigerator.
Preserve Peanut Butter In Cookie Dough Form
A great way of prolonging the shelf life of peanut butter is to make cookie dough.
The basic dough for cookies usually has few ingredients. These include: peanut butter, unsalted butter, self-rising flour and sugar. For more variations, you can add other ingredients to your liking.
Freeze the dough in airtight bags for future use. When well frozen, this dough will last for several months and will have a matured flavor.
Make Candied Peanut Butter
Candies are a great way of increasing the shelf life, since they can keep well for several years.
Combine peanut butter, condensed milk, orange zest and gelatin in a sauce pan. Simmer until it reduces into a thick consistency.
While still hot, pour the mixture onto a tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Spread the mixture with a spatula until smooth, making sure to flatten any lumps. Leave it to cool and freeze until set.
Cut into small cubes or fancy shapes. This makes a wonderful sweet treat for the entire family.
Store them in an airtight container. Freeze the extra ones. Such treats can freeze well for up to 3 years.
Preserve As Chutney
Add peanut butter into a chutney recipe. Chutney is normally canned, which prolongs the shelf life of the ingredients used. Store the peanut chutney in the refrigerator. It can keep well for several months.
Preserve As Extracted Oil
You can opt to process your peanut butter into oil. Cold-pressed peanut butter oil is the healthiest as it contains all the nutritive benefits.
Peanut oil is common in many cuisines and is also versatile.
You can make peanut oil by crushing peanuts until they release the oil, or make peanut butter and leave it to set.
The oil will separate and rise to the top. You can then scoop the oil and store.
Peanut oil is rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, thus is suitable even in frying. It also contains traces of omega 6, which may have drawbacks on health. Thus, it is always better to use it in moderation.
How to Identify Expired Peanut Butter
- Rancid taste – Expiration causes a sour taste that is different from the nutty taste.
- Discoloration – Bad peanut butter will change color from a light, glossy hue to dark brown.
- Change in texture – A grainy, hard feel indicates expiration. This is in comparison to the usual creamy, pliable texture.
- Presence of mold – Mold growth usually indicates spoilage. Discard to prevent food borne illnesses.
Like other natural substances, peanut butter has its shelf life. This hearty spread is best enjoyed when still fresh and potent. To avoid rancidity, proper storage is required. Proper storage guarantees a longer shelf life.