Peanut Butter- a healthy spread
Are peanuts nuts?
You will discover that peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, and they originated from Brazil, and that even the Incas appreciated the delicious taste of peanut butter many centuries before us!
The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall.
Peanuts are known by many other local names such as earth nuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts.
The orange-veined, yellow-petaled, pea-like flower of the peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is borne in axillary clusters above ground.
Following self-pollination, the flowers fade and wither. The stalk at the base of the ovary, called the pedicel, elongates rapidly, and turns downward to bury the fruits several inches in the ground, where they complete their development. The entire plant, including most of the roots, is removed from the soil during harvesting.
Harvesting occurs in two stages. In mechanized systems, a machine is used to cut off the main root of the peanut plant by cutting through the soil just below the level of the peanut pods. The machine lifts the "bush" from the ground and shakes it, then inverts the bush, leaving the plant upside down on the ground to keep the peanuts out of the soil. This allows the peanuts to dry slowly to a bit less than a third of their original moisture level over a period of three to four days. Traditionally, peanuts are pulled and inverted by hand.
After the peanuts have dried sufficiently, they are threshed, removing the peanut pods from the rest of the bush.
This is how a peanut plant looks like.
a versatile culinary addition
Considered by many the symbol of American snacks, peanut butter has been a staple of U.S. families for more than a century.
Popular in North America, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and parts of Asia, particularly the Philippines and Indonesia, it is mainly used as a sandwich spread, sometimes in combination as in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The United States and China are leading exporters of peanut butter. Other nuts are used as the basis for similar nut butters.
In addition to the smooth peanut butter, a crunchy variety is also available. Crunchy peanut butter is made using the same process as smooth (or creamy) peanut butter, but in the final stage of production, a generous amount of coarsely ground, roasted peanut (1mm to 2mm in diameter) is blended into the prepared mix to give the final product a crunchy texture. While making it a bit more difficult to spread, it offers a more natural peanut flavor than traditional creamy peanut butter.
Its bittersweet taste makes peanut butter a versatile culinary addition to many foods: from the traditional peanut butter sandwich to more sophisticated dishes such as pasta or salads: this is the reason why it's loved by children and adults, fast-food junkies and gourmet lovers!
Peanut butter has been used in other food products for many years. There has been large development into peanut butter's use in other foodstuffs, some of which include cake, jam, jelly, confectionery, ice cream, brownies, pretzels, peanut brittle, cookies, porridge and sandwiches amongst others.
Studies have shown that eating nuts regularly and moderately helps against heart disease, and here's the good news: against weight gain. So, there's no need to feel guilty about spreading peanut butter on your morning toast.
Chicken with Peanut Mole Sauce
The mole sauce with chilies, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and peanut butter really makes this Mexican chicken dish pop.
* 1 (4-pound) stewing chicken, cut up
* 8 cups water
* 4 stalks celery with leaves
* 1 medium carrot, sliced
* 1 small onion, cut up
* 2 sprigs parsley
* 2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 of a 10-ounce can (2/3 cup) tomatoes with green chilies
* 2 slices white bread, torn
* 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
* 4 whole cloves
* 3 whole black peppercorns
* 1 (1/2-inch stick) cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 small clove garlic, minced
Place chicken pieces in Dutch oven with water. Add celery, carrot, onion, parsley, bouillon granules, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Cover and cook over low heat 2 to 2-1/2 hours or till chicken is tender.
Remove chicken pieces. Place in a 2-quart casserole. Strain broth; skim off fat. Reserve 1-1/2 cups of the broth for sauce (cover and refrigerate remaining broth for another use).
To prepare mole de cacahuate: In blender container place the reserved chicken broth, tomatoes with green chilies, bread, and peanut butter. Cover and blend till smooth. Turn into 2-quart saucepan.
With mortar and pestle crush cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon well; add to saucepan along with chili powder and garlic. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or till thickened, stirring often.
Spoon mole de cacahuate over chicken in casserole. Bake, covered, in 350-degree F. oven 30 to 40 minutes or till heated through.
* 1/2 pound spaghetti or ramen noodles
* 4 cups water
* 3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon oil
* 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
* 1 Tablespoon dried onion, rehydrated
* 1/2 Tablespoon or one packet powdered bouillon base (see notes)
* 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
* 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
* 1/2 teaspoon spike (optional)
* 3/4 cup water, or more as needed
* 3 Tablespoons vinegar
* 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
* 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
* Sliced green or wild onions, if available
Notes: A spicy peanut butter sauce makes this a light spaghetti dish that is excellent either hot or cold. This dish can have a fairly salty taste. Cut back or eliminate the base if you are concerned about saltiness. This recipe is designed to be made in a camping or hiking environment, but works just as well at home.
Break pasta in half and put into boiling unsalted water to which 1 teaspoons of oil has been added. Cook until done; drain immediately.
In a fry pan, heat 3 Tablespoons oil and add the sunflower seeds and rehydrated onions. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the base with the brown sugar, garlic, other spices if desired, and 3/4 cup water. Add the vinegar and soy sauce. Add peanut butter and stir. Do not burn! To eat this hot, heat the sauce thoroughly and pour over hot spaghetti.
This recipe is best cold, and it loses some of its saltiness as it sits. Mix sauce and spaghetti, cool quickly, and serve chilled. If available, sliced green or wild onions as a garnish add to the flavor.
PEANUT BUTTER CHICKEN WINGS
* 50 chicken wings, wing tips removed (save for future soup stock, if desired)
* 2 (12-ounce) bottles beer
* 1 cup molasses
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
* 1/4 cup prepared mustard
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons chili powder
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
* 1 to 2 lemons, sliced thin, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large roasting pan with foil.
Cut chicken wings in half at the joint and place wings evenly in roasting pan.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the beer, molasses, peanut butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer over low heat about 15 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened.
Pour sauce over chicken wings, tossing to coat each wing. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Place wings on a large platter, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
Peanut Butter Desserts
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup coarsely chopped cocktail peanuts
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet
Garnish: chopped peanuts
1. Heat oven to 350ÂºF. Beat peanut butter, sugar, eggs and baking soda in large bowl with electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth and blended. Stir in chopped peanuts.
2. Drop level tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart, flat side down, onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, 10 minutes or until cookies are puffed and slightly golden. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
3. Microwave cream in glass bowl on high 1 minute or until it just begins to simmer. Add chocolate chips; let stand 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth; spread over half of cookie top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. If ganache begins to firm up, microwave a few seconds at a time until easy to spread. Let set at room temperature.
Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes
* 1 pkg (9.5 oz) Keebler Fudge Shoppe Peanut Butter Filled cookies
* 2 bricks (8 oz each) 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese (NeufchÃ¢tel), softened
* 11⁄4 cups sugar
* 1 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 3 large eggs, at room temperature
* Chocolate Glaze
* 3 oz semisweet baking chocolate
* 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
* 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1⁄4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Heat oven to 325Â°F. Line muffin pans with 24 paper (not foil) baking cups.
2. Break cookies into a food processor. Pulse until fine moist crumbs form. Press about 1 Tbsp evenly over bottom of each cup. Freeze until ready to fill.
3. Beat next 4 ingredients in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until smooth. On low speed, beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Spoon about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each cup.
4. Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed. (Some may crack on top; that's OK.) Cool completely in pans on a wire rack.
5. Meanwhile, prepare Glaze: Microwave ingredients on medium, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
6. Peel off liners. Place cakes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spoon glaze over tops; sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate at least 2 hours for glaze to set.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Parfaits
* 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
* 3⁄4 cup peanut butter chips
* 11⁄2 cups prepared chocolate pudding
* Garnish: whipped cream and peanut butter chips
1. Heat 1⁄2 cup cream in a medium glass bowl in microwave until steaming hot. Add chips; stir with a whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in remaining cream. Refrigerate until cold.
2. Beat with mixer just until soft peaks form (don't overbeat).
3. Spread 1 heaping Tbsp peanut butter mousse into bottom of each of 8 small (about 1⁄2 cup capacity) stemmed glasses. Spread with 1 heaping Tbsp chocolate pudding. Repeat layers once. Garnish and serve, or cover and refrigerate (without garnish) up to 1 day.
4. Different Takes
5. Replace peanut butter chips with butterscotch chips.Instead of layering in glasses, spoon alternating dollops into small dessert bowls, then swirl mixtures together with the tip of a knife.
6. Sprinkle crumbled chocolate wafer cookies between layers and on top.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Refrigerator Cake
* 2 1⁄2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
* 1 bag (10 oz) peanut butter chips
* 18 whole chocolate graham crackers
1. Heat 2⁄3 cup cream in a large microwave-safe bowl until steaming. Add chips; whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in remaining cream. Chill 15 minutes.
2. Beat with mixer just until soft peaks form. Arrange 3 crackers, side by side, long edges touching, on serving plate. Spread evenly with 1⁄2 cup cream mixture. Repeat for 4 more layers; add 1 more layer crackers. Chill 1 hour. Chill remaining cream.
3. Spread top and sides of cake with cream. Chill 4 hours or up to 2 days.
4. Decorate with peanut butter chips, if desired. Slice with a serrated knife using a sawing motion.
The Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook:
Recipes from the World's Nuttiest Sandwich ShopQuirk Books
Peanut Butter Planet:
Around the World in 80 Recipes, from Starters to Main Dishes to Desserts
Peanut butter makes everything better. Think about it: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cold Peanut Noodles. Peanut Butter Fudge. Still not convinced? Try Peanut Butter Waffles, Pad Thai, or Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Centers. In The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book, the tenth addition to their Ultimate series, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough offer up hundreds of recipes and variations for America's favorite spread. From comforting Peanut Butter Sticky Buns to decadent Peanut Butter Cheesecake to outrageous Elvis Spread (peanut butter, bacon, and bananas), The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book takes Peanut butter way beyond the same old PB&J.
How to use peanut butter?
We all know ways to incorporate peanut butter into breakfast and dessert, but it also has a place in savory main dishes. Here are some ways to use peanut butter:
1. Add a spoonful to your morning smoothie for added protein.
2. Peanut butter gets all warm and gooey when spread on something toasted or warm. Try it not just on toast, but on wraps (rolled and warmed up), crumpets (it oozes into all the little holes), English muffins and pancakes.
3. Combine it with fruit: Peanut butter pairs well with apples, pears and is heavenly with bananas.
4. Rather than the same-old PB&J sandwiches, try peanut butter and fruit sushi. Apartment Therapy helps us out with a great photo-tutorial on these inspired sandwiches, which call for dried coconut and raisins.
5. Although the classic sandwich combination is peanut butter and grape jelly, there are many other peanut butter partners: honey, marshmallow fluff, Nutella, raisins, bacon, banana, pickles (event if you're not pregnant), applesauce or apple butter, potato chips.
6. Peanut butter and vegetables. Carrot and celery sticks sure taste better when they're dipped in peanut butter! There's a snack called Ants on a Log: you put peanut butter in a stick of celery and then stick some raisins on top.
7. If you like Asian food, you've probably enjoyed peanut sauce. There are many variations on this delicious sauce, which can also be used as a dip or dressing, but here's a basic one.
8. You can also put peanut butter to use in soups.
Homemade peanut butter
Prep time: about 10 minutes
* 1Â½ c. unsalted roasted peanuts
* 1 tbsp. peanut oil
* food processor (you'll need help from your adult assistant)
* mixing spoon
* storage container
* measuring cups and spoons
For smooth peanut butter:
1. Mix the peanuts with the peanut oil, and pour the mixture into the food processor.
2. Process the mixture until it's very smooth.
3. Store your smooth peanut butter in a sealed container in the fridge. It will be good for 2 weeks.
For chunky peanut butter:
1. Take about Â¼ cup out of your 1Â½ cups of peanuts and set them aside.
2. Mix the rest of the peanuts with the oil, and pour the mixture into the food processor.
3. Process the mixture until it's very smooth, then stir in the peanuts that you had set aside.
4. Process a few seconds more to create the chunks in your chunky peanut butter.
5. Store your chunky peanut butter in a sealed container in the fridge. It will be good for 2 weeks.
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Nutritional analysis (per serving):
4.3 g protein
10.25 g fat
4 g carbohydrate
1.5 g fiber
0 mg cholesterol
1 mg sodium
10 mg calcium
0.4 mg iron
Note: Nutritional analysis may vary depending on ingredient brands used.
Watch how to make your own peanut butter
Peanut Butter How to Videos
The famous peanut butter sandwiches
Super Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Recipe
3 slices bread
2 tablespoons jam or jelly
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Toast 1 bread slice, allow to cool. Spread one side of each of the two remaining two slices with jam or jelly. Spread both sides of the toasted slice with peanut butter. Form a sandwich with the toasted slice in the center.
GRILLED BANANA SANDWICH
1 tablespoon peanut butter
4 slices bread
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoons butter
Spread peanut butter on each slice of bread. Slice each banana lengthwise into 4 pieces; sandwich between bread, peanut buttter sides together.
In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt; add sandwiches, turning to soak up mixture.
In nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat; cook sandwiches for about 5 minutes or until browned on both sides.
FRIED PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH
2 slices white bread
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 ripe banana -- mashed with fork
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Spread the bread with the peanut butter and banana.
Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat. Fry the sandwich, browning on both sides.
2 frozen waffles
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons jelly or jam
Toast waffles. Spread one waffle with peanut butter and spread the other with jam. Press peanut butter and jam sides together to form a sandwich. Slice on the diagonal.
This also works great with leftover homemade waffles.
1 tablespoon peanut butter
3 (1/2" thick) slices banana bread
1/2 large banana, sliced
3 tablespoons toasted sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon honey
Garnish: fresh fruit
Spread peanut butter evenly over banana bread slices; top each with banana and coconut. Drizzle with honey. Serve at room temperature, or heat in microwave and serve warm. Garnish, if desired.
CRUNCHY CHINESE FORTUNE COOKIE SANDWICH
4 slices wheat bread
3 tablespoons Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon finely diced celery
1 tablespoon finely diced apple
Chinese Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
To make the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in small saucepan and cook over low heat while stirring with a wire whisk. When the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, remove from heat and let cool.
While the dipping sauce is cooling, roll flat with a rolling pin the four slices of bread. Use a large circle shaped cookie cutter to cut out each slice of bread into a circle. Mix the 3 sandwich mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Place a tablespoon full of mix into the center of each circle shaped piece of bread. Fold the bread in half so the sandwich is now a half circle. Crimp the edges of the sandwich together with your fingers so the mix will not come out. Then, while holding the center of the sandwich, pull the sides of the sandwich down so the edges touch each other, forming a fortune cookie shape.
Cut extra apple and celery slices to eat with the Chinese dipping sauce.
To make fortunes for your fortune cookies, use a clean plastic lid from a tub of butter, yogurt, or sour cream. Cut small plastic strips, then write your fortune on them with a permanent marker. Tuck the edge of the fortune into the edge of your cookies to make them real fortune cookie sandwiches.
Once the dipping sauce is cool, serve the crunchy Chinese cookie sandwiches with their fortunes, and apple and celery slices on a plate with a cup of dipping sauce. Dip the sandwiches and the apple and celery slices into the sauce, and you have a great after school snack that was fun to make and eat!
2 slices bread
2 slices cooked bacon
Take 2 slices of bread and cover each slice with peanut butter. Slice a banana into 1/4 longwise and place on bread. Add bacon. Cover with honey.
Take to a flat grill and grill the bread. Serve sandwich hot.
PEANUT BUTTER WAFFLE PANINI
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup peanut butter
8 round low-fat whole grain waffles
1 Fuji apple (cored and sliced into 1/8-inch thick pieces)
4 tablespoons all-fruit jam (such as raspberry or strawberry)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Combine raisins, peanut butter and honey in small bowl; stir to blend. Divide among half the waffles, and spread to cover. Top each with several apple slices (about 5 per waffle).
Spread 1 tablespoon jam on each of the remaining waffles; place jam side down on peanut butter-topped waffles.
Heat half the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add waffle sandwiches and reduce heat to medium-low. Place another skillet over waffles, making sure it rests evenly on waffles. Cook waffle panini 1 1/2 minutes.
Flip panini, add remaining butter to skillet, and slide panini around skillet to coat with melted butter.
Replace top skillet and cook 1 more minute, or until lightly browned. Cut each panini in half and serve with any remaining apple slices.
MEAN GREEN PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH
1/3 banana, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
4 slices bread, pre-sliced whole wheat, toasted lightly
4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 ripe kiwi fruit, unpeeled and sliced into rounds
Place the banana pieces and cream cheese into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until they are just blended. Do not overprocess.
Alternately, you can mash the cream cheese and banana together until well blended.
Spread the banana cream on one side of two pieces of bread.
Spread the peanut butter on the remaining two slices of bread.
Divide the sliced kiwi between the two bread slices with banana cream.
Top with the peanut butter covered bread.
Cut diagonally into halves then cut again to make four sandwich triangles.
PEANUT BUTTER, APRICOT AND WALNUT SANDWICH
4 dried apricots
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1/4 cup honey
4 slices raisin-walnut bread
Chop apricots and raisins and add walnuts, peanut butter and honey, mixing well.
Spread on half the bread slices and cover with remaining slices.
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