Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Scoop on Powdered Peanut Butter

My mom is one of those people who'll try anything. She always finds obscure products, kitchen gadgets and funky foods to try and she's the first to send them my way. She knows I dream of growing my own peanuts and making my own peanut butter so when she heard of a new peanut butter product, she knew I'd be interested. Peanut butter is a staple around our house. It's consumed daily and we've tried about every brand out there. Mom called me a few months ago and asked me if I'd heard of powdered peanut butter. She heard about it at her Weight Watchers meeting and she was fascinated. She said they press the peanuts, extract the oil, package it up powdered, and then the consumer re-mixes it with water instead of oil, thereby reducing the fat and calorie content dramatically.

I was both disgusted and intrigued. She told me that it's all natural with no funky preservatives and sent me to their website (www.bellplantation.com) for proof. The website says this: "Through a unique process that does not involve the use of any chemicals nor does it alter nature's balance in peanuts, over 85% of the fat is removed from the peanuts. Essentially, the oil is squeezed out of roasted peanuts and what remains is our famous powdered peanut butter."
Mom said the product was only available by mail order, but no fear! She'd already ordered a few jars from the company. When I visited her recently she gave me a jar to bring back with me to try out. She whipped some up when I was at her house and I have to admit, it tasted just like peanut butter. I made some yesterday so I could compare the three peanut butter brands we have in the household…and so you could see firsthand what powdered peanut butter looks like. We compared Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, Peter Pan Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter and PB2 - the powdered peanut butter by Bell Plantation.First of all, I don't think that the hassle of mixing up powdered peanut butter is worth it for kids. I think most kids would benefit from the fat in regular peanut butter - that is if you've got a typical healthy active child, of course. If you have a child who needs to watch their fat and calorie intake, and they love peanut butter, then this would be a good option. I think that the powdered peanut butter would be a great healthy alternative for moms who are trying to lose weight, but can't resist the urge to slather some peanut butter on an apple slice or celery stick or a piece of bread in an attempt to eat healthy. You have to mix and eat immediately, but you can refrigerate the unused portion and consume within 48 hours.

Here's how you make it. You get 2 tablespoons of the powder and put it in a bowl. This is 1 serving, which is the same as the serving size of "regular" peanut butter. It'll make just enough for one peanut butter sandwich if you like your PB thinly spread.
Then you get 1 tablespoon of water and mix it up. It does make thick sticky peanut butter, just like you'd expect. You can always add another dribble or two of water if you like it a bit thinner.

It looks just like regular peanut butter.

It smells jut like regular peanut butter.

And it tastes pretty good too. I wondered how we'd all do in a blind taste test. Could we pick out the powdered peanut butter? I felt sure it'd be obvious when compared to two other peanut butter brands. Because I was dying to know if I'm right, we did a blind taste test to see how we felt about the three brands of peanut butter. Farmer B and I knew we'd be able to tell which one was powdered. I put a schmear of each of the peanut butter types on small pieces of wheat Melba Toast and we each tried them and gave our opinions. Farmer B handed mine to me and I closed my eyes since I knew which piece was which since I set up the taste test.

Farmer B:
PP Low-Fat - Picked as the best.
Skippy Natural - Guessed it was the low-fat version.
PB2 powdered -Different texture, different taste, but good.
Overall comments - They're all good. It's hard to distinguish between the three, but the PP Low-Fat had the strongest taste.

Me:
PP Low-Fat - Strongest flavor.
PB2 powdered - 2nd best flavor.
Skippy Natural - good taste, but a tad bland.
Overall comments - Same as Farmer B. All good. Hard to distinguish between them all. I was surprised I didn't pick the Skippy All Natural as the best… and I was surprised I couldn't tell which one was powdered.

Aidan:
PP Low-Fat - good
PB2 powdered - good
Skippy Natural - good
Overall comments
- "Why are we eating so much peanut butter?" Obviously 4 years old is too young for this experiment. His palate is clearly not as mature as ours.

Jace didn't participate since he was napping and is prone to throwing anything sticky. The overall results surprised me. None of us could pick out which one was powdered. And I think we all slightly preferred the Peter Pan Low-Fat peanut butter because it has so many additives to enhance the flavor. Sad, huh? We'll keep buying the Skippy All Natural because we try to limit products with lots of unpronounceable ingredients when there is a good alternative.


Here's the comparison of the important parts of the nutrition labels and ingredients for all three products (Serving size is 2 T in all):

Skippy Natural Creamy - 180 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 3.5 sat fat, 150 mg sodium, 3g sugar

Peter Pan Reduced Fat Creamy - 190 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 2 g sat fat, 160 mg sodium, 5 g sugar

PB2 powdered - 54 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.8 g of fat, .55 g sat fat, 94 mg sodium, 1 g sugar


And here's the ingredients from all three.

Skippy Natural ingredients - roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt

Peter Pan Reduced Fat Creamy ingredients - nuts, corn syrup solids, soy protein, sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed and rapeseed), salt, minerals (magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, iron sulfate, copper sulfate), and vitamins (Niacin, Vitamin B6, folic acid).

PB2 powdered - Peanuts, Sugar, Salt

So there you have it. The scoop on powdered peanut butter. The most unscientific taste test under the sun. Powdered peanut butter is not as weird as you might think. Order some and have it with Tang and a sack of Hungry Jack powdered potatoes to complete your powdered lunch theme.

1 comment:

LuckyGirl said...

What a terrific review--thanks for posting this. I've heard from several people that PB2 is good but haven't tried it yet. Just requested some now!

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