Natural vs regular peanut butter, plus 11 nutty recipes

Natural vs regular peanut butter, plus 11 nutty recipes

Roasted Peanut Butter
Photography by Joe Kim/TC Media
Image by: Roasted Peanut Butter <br />Photography by Joe Kim/TC Media Author:


Natural vs regular peanut butter, plus 11 nutty recipes

The average Canadian consumes almost 6 lb (3 kg) of peanuts and peanut butter per year. So how do you store this bounty?

Natural peanut butter contains only peanuts. Once opened, keep it in the refrigerator for up to six months. Peanut oil is heat- and light-sensitive, and exposure to either can lead to rancidity and a foul taste.

Regular peanut butter contains added sugar, salt and/or oil. Keep opened jars at room temperature in a dark cupboard for up to six months (unopened jars will keep for up to a year).

How to stir sticky peanut butter
Natural peanut butter often separates, leaving a hard lump on the bottom and an oil slick on top. Stirring it in this state can be frustrating -- and leave you with an oil stain on your shirt. Instead, microwave the jar (remove any trace of foil from the rim) for 10 to 20 seconds, or leave the jar on the counter for 30 minutes. It should now be a cinch to stir back together with a butter knife.

Popular peanut butter recipes: 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
If you want to use regular peanut butter, reduce butter by 2 tbsp (30 mL) and brown sugar by 1/4 cup (60 mL).

Gluten-Free Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Balls
Gluten-free icing sugar is available at health food and bulk food stores. Look for natural peanut butter that's made from peanuts only or for brands that have no icing sugar added.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Squares
Hand-held nutty cheesecake squares are the ultimate indulgence.

Double Peanut Biscotti
These delightful and slightly crumbly biscotti are like a grown-up peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Granola
The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats found in peanut butter and almonds make this a better choice than cereals and cereal bars that contain trans-fatty acids.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
The nutritious combination of peanut butter and banana is a winning one. It's also a great way to hide other healthy ingredients, such as oat bran. Use any nut butter, such as almond or hazelnut, for variety.
Peanut butter recipes: soups, salads and mains

Tomato Peanut Soup
Packed with protein, peanuts give this colourful soup a velvety texture and rich, creamy taste. Roasted Vegetable Stock would be a tasty base for this and other vegetarian dishes.

Tofu Salad with Peanut Dressing
This colourful and fresh lunch or supper salad pleases vegetarians and meat eaters alike. A sweet peanut dressing with a wisp of chili heat lightly coats a platter of crunchy vegetables and crispy tofu.

Indonesian Chicken in Peanut Sauce
Tender chicken in a nutty sauce is perfect with rice or rice noodles. For extra colour, you can brown the chicken in a little oil first.

Pork Satays with Peanut Plum Sauce

These skewers are delicious done on an indoor or outdoor grill, a grill pan or under the broiler. You can substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts for the pork.

Chicken Peanut Noodle
Finicky kids devour this dish. It's perfect for trying something new for the family, or those evenings you yearn for fast Asian flavours.

This story was originally titled "Food Matters" in the November 2010 issue.

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Natural vs regular peanut butter, plus 11 nutty recipes