June 26, 2007
I really like peanut butter. I will admit that I don't eat it all that often just because I don't think to. Like most of us when I was a kid I ate it all the time and it's a fantastic snack for your kids. I got to thinking about it because of this Ask Dr. Gourmet question:
"How good/bad is Soy Peanut Butter?"
(Sometimes the questions are just that simple.)
Anyway, this set me on a hunt for soy nut butter which I will admit I had never tasted. In the process it seemed only fair to compare it with a number of peanut butters. All in all 6 nut butters were tried in a blind tasting. Here are the results:
Jif. Yep, that's right. Choosy mothers choose Jif I suppose. This was the best of the lot. Maybe it's because it's the flavor that we grew up with. It was more buttery and creamy (all the butters tasted were creamy not chunky style). It had a good roasted peanut flavor. It also has sugar in it. Calculating from the Nutrition Facts it looks like about a half teaspoon in every 2 tablespoons. It also has some other oils in it so this is not the purest product but it's darn good anyway.
I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter: This product came in second. At first it was difficult to tell that it wasn't peanut butter. The two giveaways were that it didn't have that roasted flavor of the other butters and there is a flowery finish. The aftertaste was not unusual but it simply tasted like standing in a fresh meadow smells. It should be noted that the soy nut butters have about 1/3 less fat and half the saturated fat as peanut butters do. http://www.soynutbutter.com/
Fresh ground peanut butter - This came from the health food store. You've seen the grinders and the one that I chose was filled with straightforward roasted and unsalted peanuts. This was good but the texture was dry and grainy. Great pure peanut flavor and it would be OK in a sandwich but only if there was some jelly to go along with it. Best of all of the products from an additive standpoint -- even the soy nut butter was sweetened with cane juice (read that "sugar").
The other three products chosen were very expensive organic peanut butters. They all shared much in common as far as taste, texture and eatability.
Whole Foods 365 Organic Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter, Arrowhead Mills Creamy Valencia Peanut Butter and Santa Cruz Organic Light Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter were all gummy, sticky and gluey.
The Arrowhead Mills was bland with not much peanut taste (the I.M. Healthy tasted more nutty). The Santa Cruz was "just wrong" in the words of one taster and that really does sum it up. It just didn't taste like peanut butter and was so gooey as to be almost inedible.
The Whole Foods brand was a little better with more of a peanut butter taste, but it also had a honey flavor to it. I was surprised that the label claims it has no added sweeteners.