A Peanut Butter Question

With the new Fresh Fields store now only a block away, I have started buying more fresh, air grown, clean, nutritious, 100% chemical-free pesticide-free, chemical preservative-free, and genetically modified-free vegetables and herbs grown only in composted soil.

So far, so good. But the peanut butter I’ve bought there has no oil or stabilizers added, meaning that when you open the jar, there’s about a half inch of the natural peanut oil floating on top.

How do I mix this back together? Even if I could stick a spoon all the way down into the jar & had the strength of ten men needed to stir the thick paste, the oil would splash over the top of the jar (yes I tried it already).

I finally resorted to using my trusty Makita cordless drill with an extra long wood bore bit attached, and it still took almost 15 minutes.

What do people who don’t have power tools do?

Pour it off, I’ll wager. I seem to recall from my youth a brand of peanut butter that came with a layer of oil on top, but we all thought it was added afterwards to act as a sort of “freshness seal”.

You could always use one of those stick blenders, wallop some peanuts to a buttery consistency, and let them sit a while to see if any separation occurs; that’d settle it once and for all.

Place the jar on a firm, flat easily cleaned surface like your kitchen counter. Take a table knife, and insert it about an inch deep into the peanut butter (about half an inch into the paste). Stir slowly and carefully. The top 1/2 inch of paster will mix easily with the oil. You will now have a jar mostly full of thick peanut paste topped by about an inch of very oily peanut butter, and a small circle of oil on your counter, where it dribbled down the side of the jar, no matter how careful you were. Insert the knife an inch further and stir. Eventually, you find you have stirred the whole thing, and you will have a jar about 4/5 full of smooth, natural peanut butter, with only the remaining 1/5 smeared on the outside of the jar and your countertop in a greasy mess. This is normal, and is the result of the all-natural process we use to create Healthy Crevice peanut butter for you and your family. It only take about two or three minutes to stir it this way (not counting cleanup). Now, put the peanut butter in the fridge, and never take it out again, or you will have to stir it all over again.

Alternatively, you could see if your store has their own peanut grinder to make your own peanut butter with. If you do this, you don’t have to stir it, since it doesn’t sit on the shelves for months separating before you buy it. And if you eat it in any reasonable amount of time, you won’t even have to put it in the fridge to keep it from separating.

I simulposted with Max, so I didn’t respond to his suggestion. Don’t pour it off, at least not all of it. If you do, the peanut butter will be extremely thick and dry, making it dificult to spread. If you don’t mind a slightly stiffer peanut butter, however, or if not much separation has occured, you could certainly pour most of it off, and save yourself some calories. You might need power tools to stir in what’s left though.

Dang, I hit submit before I was done. I meant to add that the oil is definitely natural. There is usually a little fine print on the side of the label explaining it in language I parodied to explain the mess it causes.

Then I guess I’ll be bringing out the drill again, cuz I hate refrigerated condiments.

It does say on the label that oil separation is natural. Stirring it with the drill bit worked pretty well, and resulted in a only a minimal oil slick on my counter top. I actually like this stuff better than skippy, or other brands that add lots of sugar. I was pretty sure that peanut butter was never supposed to taste like candy.

store the jar upside down…the oil will then float to the bottom…it’s so crazy it might just work.

I have a great deal of experience with this situation, having peanut butter toast for breakfast most mornings. While Alan’s technique will work, I usually realize my old jar is empty, and I need to stir the new jar only after the toast has popped up, so time is important to me.

Insert a regular silverware knife all the way to the bottom near one side, with the blade perpendicular to the side of the jar, then slice through the block of hard peanut butter. Rotate the jar and repeat this several times. This cuts the large block into manageable chunks.

Next, do the same thing, but with the blade parallel to the side of the jar, so that you scoop peanut butter to one side, leaving a hole for the oil on top to drain into behind the knife blade. This lets the oil get down to the hard part. Do it slowly and you won’t spill the oil. Well, not much anyway.

After a couple times of this, you hopefully have a mix hard globs of peanut butter and soft peanut butter, instead of rocks and oil, and you can stir normally. If the peanutbutter is really hard, and you still have some rocks left, don’t worry about it. They’ll soften up by the next time you have some.

You’ll have to stir again every time you have some, at least until the jar is half empty or so, but it won’t be anywhere near as hard.

In the future, when you buy a new jar, try shaking it right when you buy it. This helps unless the peanut butter is really hard. Also, you can try leaving the new, unopened jar on it’s side, or doing the slicing step ahead of time and letting it sit.

When I have to do this, I dump it all into a large bowl and stir it up to mix it (big fork works well). Then, I put it back in the PB jar (small rubber spatula works well). No fuss, no muss. (or is that no fess, no mess?)

Happy to know that I’m not the only one struggling with the damn thing. I usually use a bread knife and jab, poke and swirl my way through. And I definitely refrigerate it after opening (it’s what they recommend in fact). Of course, it can be a bit of a struggle when I reach the bottom but it usually it still spreadable.

[plug]The brand ‘Just Peanuts’ (which is exactly what it is when you check the ingredients) in the ‘President’s Choice’ line of products is, by far, the best commercial peanut butter I’ve ever tasted. In Canada, it’s sold at Loblaws and its affiliated stores. IIRC, it’s also available in the US under the ‘President’s Choice’ label as well but I don’t remember which food stores carry it.[/unplug]

Ahh, the joys of freshly ground peanut butter.

I don’t know if you keep your’s in the fridge or not, but if you do, this works: when you bring it home from the store, put it in the fridge upside down. The oil works its way through the peanut butter but the cold prevents it from collecting at the top again. Next time you open it, you have well mixed p.b. and then you can store it righ side up again.