Peanut butter is a food paste made from ground dry roasted peanuts, which is sold as either "crunchy" or "smooth"/"creamy" variety. Major consumer-brand peanut butter contains hydrogenated vegetable oil to stabilize it and prevent oil separation, salt to prevent spoilage, and dextrose or other sweeteners to enhance flavor. Peanut butter marketed as natural or organic might only contain peanuts and salt. Although some organic and natural varieties use palm oil instead of hydrogenated vegetable oil to prevent oil separation. It is popular in North America and the Netherlands, where it is used mainly as a sandwich spread, and a key ingredient in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as well as peanut butter flavored chocolate bars. Peanut butter may also be added to desserts such as cakes and biscuits. The United States and China are leading exporters of peanut butter.
Evidence of modern peanut butter comes from US patent #306727 issued to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1884, for a process of milling roasted peanuts between heated surfaces until the peanuts reached "a fluid or semi-fluid state." As the product cooled, it set into what Edson described as "a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment." Edson's patent is based on the preparation of a peanut paste as an intermediate to the production of peanut candies. While Edson's patent does not describe the modern confection we know as peanut butter, it does show the initial steps necessary for the production of peanut butter.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,462 kJ (588 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||6 g|
|Sodium||0 mg (0%)|
|Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Peanut butter may protect against a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats and resveratrol; butter prepared with the skin of the peanuts has a greater level of resveratrol and other health-aiding agents. Peanut butter (and peanuts) provide protein, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, arginine, and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.
The peanut plant is susceptible to the mold Aspergillus flavus which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. Since it is impossible to completely remove every instance of aflatoxins, contamination of peanuts and peanut butter is monitored in many countries to ensure safe levels of this carcinogen. Average American peanut butter contains about 13 parts per billion of aflatoxins, a thousand times below the maximum recommended safe level.
Some brands of peanut butter may contain a small amount of added partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans fatty acids, thought to be a cause of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and stroke; these oils are added to make the butter easier to spread. Natural peanut butter, and peanuts, do not contain partially hydrogenated oils. A US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) survey of commercial peanut butters in the US showed the presence of trans fat, but at very low levels. This survey was conducted in 2001, and it unclear what the current state of trans fats is in peanut butter products that contain partially hydrogenated oils. By law, if a serving size on the nutrition label contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats, then the manufacturer is legally allowed to claim that that the product contains "0g Trans Fats per serving." Some manufacturers have decreased the serving size of their products in order to be able to claim that the product contains "No Trans Fat per serving."
At least one study has found that peanut oil caused relatively heavy clogging of arteries. Robert Wissler of the University of Chicago reported that diets high in peanut oil, when combined with cholesterol intake, clogged the arteries of Rhesus monkeys more than butterfat. [Atherosclerosis 20: 303, 1974]
Peanut butter can harbor salmonella and cause salmonellosis, as in the salmonella outbreak in the United States in 2007. In 2009, due to mishandling and apparent criminal negligence at a single Peanut Corporation of America factory in Blakely, Georgia, salmonella was found in 46 states in peanut-butter-based products such as crackers, peanut-butter cookies, and dog treats. It has claimed at least nine human lives as of 17 March 2009 , and made at least 691 people sick in the United States.
Plumpy'nut is a peanut butter-based food used to fight malnutrition in famine stricken countries. A single pack contains 500 calories, can be stored unrefrigerated for 2 years, and requires no cooking or preparation.
Peanut butter is an effective bait for mouse traps.
The oils found in peanut butter are known to allow chewing gum to be removed from hair. This is an alternative method to freezing the gum and removing it that way or adding lemon juice.
January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day.
Peanut butter can protect people from peanuts) have lots of protein, E, magnesium, , food fiber, and . However, some people with peanut allergies can have a shock or alergic reaction from eating or smelling it, which has made some schools decide not to let their students eat peanut butter in their schools. Some oils put inside peanut butter to make it easier to spread can also make people have heart disease. Peanut butter can also carry salmonella and make people sick because of it.sickness. Peanut butter (and