Ah, peanut butter. One of the great staples of American cuisine. Where would we all be without it? Think about how many lunches and breakfasts and midnight snacks would be foiled without the wonderful spread? It’s the one thing that makes me really pity those with severe nut allergies, it’s that they’ll never enjoy it on a sandwich or a Graham cracker. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savoury. Simply delicious.
But one of the real sour points of this scrumptious foodstuff is what happens to it when left on the shelf and neglected for too long. It’s always the same. You crave a little nutty snack one afternoon, race to the kitchen, find the jar, pry it open (if, unlike me, you can open those jars yourself) only to find that all of your precious peanut butter has congealed into a sort of hardened crusty snot at the bottom of the jar. How disappointing.
But we’ve got a bit of inside information from peanut butter manufacturers, and they’ve taken it upon themselves to inform us that we’ve really been storing peanut butter wrong this whole time.
You might think “hey, that’s impossible, how man ways can there be to store a jar of peanut butter anyway?” and the answer, if you’re smart, is “just one way.” The right way, which we’re about to share with you.
So if you haven’t opened a peanut jar in a while, you might notice a weird sort of olive oil substance seeping through to the top, almost like the butter is sweating somehow. This is totally natural. There’s nothing wrong with your peanut butter if it does this.
You might also have noticed that the oil has a tendency to settle, and requires a damn good stir each time you pop that cap open. But if you simply tip the jar upside-down then the oils will trickle through the butter and distribute more evenly all the way through the jar, preserving it for twice as long.
Peanut butter has a long and interesting history. Mashed peanuts were often eaten by Mayan and Aztecs, but peanut butter in its present form wasn’t developed until much later. Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec was the first to patent peanut butter, in 1884. Peanut flour already existed. His cooled product had “a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment” according to his patent application. He included the mixing of sugar into the paste so as to harden its consistency.
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