It's a sticky situation.  In my house, we go to war.  Not over the clicker, or even the temperature of the room.  No, we duke it out over the peanut butter. When I met my husband, he was downing Skippy on Wonder Bread by the pound. After years of hearing compelling arguments over the health benefits of peanut butter, he's finally seen the light (or so he says).  But old habits die hard, and the old, sticky, spreadable consistency of Skippy often trumps the texture of the natural peanut butters.

Natural peanut butters simply contain peanuts, oil, and salt, and are subsequently free of hydrogenated vegetable oils, which keep the peanut butter emulsified.   So although I lovingly try to convince my husband they are much healthier, the fact is, it doesn't matter to him.  Why?  Because natural peanut butters require mixing that inevitably leads to an oil spill down the sides of the jar.  The consistency is runny.  They can taste a little pasty.  Now, I'll eat almost anything if I know it's good for me, but I can't always expect everyone else to follow suit.  So I'll let you in on some tips that keep the peace in our house (for now, anyways):

  • Whip It Good.  When you buy natural PB, take a spatula and remove the contents into a blender or food processor.  Pulse for about 10-15 seconds, until the oil is well mixed into the peanut blend.
  • Chill Out.  You can store the peanut butter in the refrigerator for optimal freshness and a thicker consistency.  If you're more flexible on the consistency, feel free to store it in your cabinet.  It may be a bit more runny, but the beauty of the brown butter is that once it's been blended through the food processor, the oils will stay mixed in.
  • Love Your New Body.  The benefits of eating natural peanut butter outweigh the artificial stuff by leaps and bounds.  Hydrogenated oils are toxic to our bodies and disrupt the delicate hormonal balance within each of us.  Retrain your palate and your mind to go for pure, natural versions of foods-even if it requires a bit more work.  You're worth it!

To find the best brands, look for organic versions of natural peanut butter, like Marantha, Arrowhead Mills, Once Again, or Tree of Life in your local health food store.  Commercial peanut butters like Smucker's Natural or Peanut Butter & Company are also excellent choices.