Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Please!!


A favorite storage item is Peanut Butter. Kids love peanut butter and jelly and overall it is a pretty healthy snack. How is peanut butter for storage? These days there are some choices. Regular peanut butter or peanut butter powder. Here are some facts about storing and using each, beginning with regular peanut butter in the jar.

Peanut butter can be kept up to six months after opening. Unopened jars can be stored up to one year in a cool, dark location. Turn the container upside-down occasionally to help redistribute the oils and prolong shelf life. That said, it really is important to store peanut butter in the coolest place you can; it will extend shelf life. I have had peanut butter that has been kept in a very cool, dark place stay good much longer than a year.

Second, peanut butter is high in protein, fiber and micronutrients. The high fiber helps regulate blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels and has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and colon-rectal cancer.

Peanut butter is about 24% protein by weight making it a good source of protein. It is a good source of Vitamin E (one of the most powerful antioxidants shown to significantly reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases), Vitamin B3 (Niacin- a water-soluble vitamin that aids in the recovery of cell DNA damage thus protecting from cancer; it also provides protection against Alzheimer's disease). Peanut butter has large amounts of beneficial minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium (not as much as bananas but still a significant amount), copper and calcium.

Many people avoid peanut butter because of the high fat content. One thing to keep in mind though is that most of the fats contained are monounsaturated, and have been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. This effect is compounded by peanut butter containing polyunsaturated fats, which in turn help raising the "good" HDL cholesterol; making peanut butter a very good cholesterol regulator.

One of the most interesting nutrients found in peanuts is Resveratrol: this is a natural antimicrobial agent, produced by the peanut plant, found to ward off potential pathogens (bacteria, virus and fungi). Resveratrol is actually believed to be the cause of the French people having a lower risk of cardiovascular disease despite their diet rich in fats. Resveratrol provides anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties to the body.

Peanut Butter also contains p-coumaric acid, which combats oxidative stress (a syndrome believed to cause some neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases). Studies have found that women who eat least 1 ounce of nuts, peanuts or peanut butter each week (one peanut butter sandwich) have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones. Also, peanut butter contains much higher quantities of antioxidants than apples or carrots. All things considered, peanut butter contributes to a healthy diet.

Another alternative is to store peanut butter powder. Peanut butter powder will not store as long as wheat flour. However, sealed with oxygen absorbers, plan on a storage life of 4-5 years at a stable temperature of 70ยบ. It will keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures. One lady stated that because of the high amount of peanut butter her family consumes, she decided to try the powdered. She mixes it with a little olive oil and honey or agave nectar. Her family loves it and she said it has the deep taste of roasted peanuts and she will never buy commercial peanut butter again.

Dehydrated Peanut Butter Powder is an excellent substitution in any recipe that calls for peanut butter. It is easy to make and is a good source of protein. A #10 can of the powder makes about 89 2-Tbsp servings. The advantages of peanut butter powder is that it is peanut butter without all the fat. It stores well and is easily substituted in recipes as well as eaten like regular peanut butter. It works great for baking; add to recipes in powdered form or easily make into peanut butter. It is far less expensive than buying reduced fat peanut butter, and it is much healthier.

Here are some endorsements from peanut butter powder users:
“I add a drop of oil, pinch of salt & dollop of Agave nectar. My family didn’t know it was powder! My husband said he didn't recognize brand taste, but thought it was great! So good with celery! After mixing powder up, keep refrigerated because it has no added preservatives. Yea!”

“For dieters, the peanut butter powder has a third of the calories and fat of normal peanut butter -- and no added anything! You can even control the sodium, which is wonderful. As far as taste, it is very peanutty. I like it reconstituted with milk instead of water, for a little more flavor. Works great in baking! Gives baked goods a delightfully peanut taste without all the sugar."

“I use a tablespoon or 2 mixed in with a protein shake to add a little extra protein and to add the peanut butter flavor. It’s good stuff. I also mix it with some powdered honey, a great snack - instant peanut butter & honey - for spreading on toast, bagels, crackers or even sandwiches.”

Here are some recipes using peanut butter powder or try it in some of your own favorite recipes.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 ½ c. dehydrated Peanut Butter Powder (Reconstitute before using)
½ c. Sugar
1/3 c. Shortening
1 ¼ c. Flour
½ t. Baking Powder
½ t. Salt
½ c. Brown Sugar
3 T. Dried Eggs (Reconstitute before using)
2 ½ t. Baking Soda
1 t. Ginger
½ c. Water (for peanut butter powder)
Mix peanut butter, shortening, sugars, egg, and water in bowl until creamed. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Roll into 1 1/2” balls and flatten with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Rounds
3/4 c. Butter - Softened
½ c. Peanut Butter Powder (Reconstitute before using)
1 c. Sugar
½ c. Brown Sugar
1 t. Baking Powder
½ t. Baking Soda
2 Eggs (Reconstitute before using)
1 t. Vanilla
1 ¼ c. Flour
2 c. Rolled Oats
1 c. Chopped Peanuts OR Chocolate Pieces
In large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until well blended.
Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda; beat until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much flour as possible with the mixer then stir in remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats and peanuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool.

Peanut Butter Waffles
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 c. Fat-Free Milk
½ t. Salt
2 t. Baking Powder
2 Eggs, Beaten
¼ c. Honey
½ t. Vanilla
½ c. Peanut Butter Powder (reconstituted)
1 ¼ c. Water
Combine flour, dehydrated milk, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, honey, vanilla and peanut butter. Mix in water. Add egg mixture to milk mixture and stir until smooth. Bake on hot, oiled waffle iron. Variation: Peanut Butter Pancake: Use the same recipe, but use 3/4 cup of water instead of 1¼ c. of water.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins
1 ½ c. Flour
1 c. Instant Oatmeal
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 t. Maple Powder or 1 t. Maple Extract or 1 t. Maple Flavoring
3 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
1/3 c. Peanut Butter Powder (reconstitute)
1 c. Milk
1 Egg
2 c. freeze dried Banana Slices (reconstituted-Mash after reconstituting)or use fresh bananas
In a large bowl, combine flour and oatmeal. Mix brown sugar until no clumps. Add maple powder (if using liquid form add with milk), baking powder and salt. Mix until well blended. In another bowl, combine peanut butter, milk (liquid maple flavor, if being used), egg and bananas. Mix well. Combine peanut butter mixture with oatmeal mixture until oatmeal mixture is just moistened. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.

Peanut Butter & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
2 c. water
½ t. salt
1 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
¼ c. dehydrated Peanut butter powder (reconstitute)
2 T. butter or margarine
Bring water and salt to a boil in medium saucepan. Add oats and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, peanut butter and butter or margarine.