A few weeks ago in Hawaii, when Jacob and I were on our bi-daily (is there a word for every other day?) hike, we spent the entire 20 minutes climbing up Sleeping Giant mountain talking about how weird it is that Europeans can’t understand the American love of peanut butter, particularly pb& j. So weird! It’s one of the few things that makes me proud to be an Amurrikan—at least I know there is quality pb all around me.
Jacob spends most of his nights dipping chunks of chocolate (it’s useful for him to have a girlfriend who buys it by the case) into a private jar of peanut butter so unsanitary I wouldn’t use it for PB cups if it were the last jar on the planet. He prefers this deconstructed peanut butter cup to those that I so laboriously craft, I do believe this, even though he weakly protests that he just doesn’t want to use up mine. A huge spoon of PB, a giant bite of chocolate: it makes me laugh every time.
So. The peanut butter debacle is as follows: My ***beautiful*** organic peanut butter is made by Arrowhead Mills. I taste tested every PB on the market and it (used to) blow every other brand out of the water. Unfortunately now they have changed their formula to use a blend of peanuts, instead of the 100% Valencia peanuts they used to use, and to also mix in the papery skins (which means unpretty brown bits in the jar). All of this adds up to a flavor I do not enjoy. Arguably even worse is that their newly shitty flavor comes in a jar with a metal BLUE CAP. A blue cap? What are you doing to me, Arrowhead Mills? I’ve talked about my yellow-cap PB jar collection again and again, have you not been following my blog??
(And are you ever going to update your website to reflect the change, or are you too ashamed?)
So obviously, it’s a nightmare. I called them up today to talk it over, and they told me all casual and shit that yeah, it’s now a peanut blend and sorry about the caps but no, there’s no way to get any of the old blend with the old caps. When asked why they made such an obviously terrible decision, the rep merely said it was a change the company decided on. And you know, Arrowhead Mills is owned by Hain, which is a part of the whole Celestial group, and I doubt that they are able to autonomously operate with principles other than cheapness at their core, sigh.
So the search begins for a new awesome peanut butter.
Get your water glasses ready, people in my life, because whenever I see you I’ll be offering you peanut butter.
What I know: I have to use a 100% Valencia pb (though my quickie research today seems to suggest that Spanish peanuts are also pretty good—it seems to me that the peanut to avoid is the Virginia peanut.), it has to be organic, and it can’t have the stupid bitterass skins mixed in. Preferably the peanuts should be grown in New Paltz, New York (veganically, of course) and processed in a worker-owned, union-organized, geothermal, LEED-gold standard-certified building, delivered via biodiesel truck by sweet vegans happy with their lives and jobs.
Apart from that, I’m not picky.
Know any great peanut butters? Let me know!
I’ll post the results of my tastings here, so for right now here are some initial thoughts.
Veronica and I pitted the old vs. new AM PB on Saturday, and the results were instant and unanimous:
Old Arrowhead Mills: BEAUTIFUL: creamy to the nth power, roasty-toasty, smooth mouthfeel, clean lovely tan color…oh world, why must you kill everything wonderful?
New Arrowhead Mills: FUCKING SUX: darker, somehow less creamy, bitter undertones, blech. A whole case useless for precious pb cups.
Here is the initial list of brands I’m eying/ruling out:
(Obviously, shitty processed supermarket brands are not listed here)
I got a flier from a PB made in Ithaca at last year’s Fancy Food Show, but now I can’t find it. If you know of it, let me know!
Peanut Butter and Co: not organic, but I’ve had it before and like it.
Once I accidentally bought a 9 lb bucket of Once Again pb and words can’t quite express how vile Veronica and I found it. It was dark and filled with peanut skins and non-Valencia flavors. We used it to make peanut noodles (lots. of. peanut. noodles.) and celebrated the day it was used up.
Marantha: I guess I’ll give it a whirl.
This kind looks good, but what kind of peanuts do you use, and do you use the skins? And why don’t you make an organic one?
Laura Scudder’s? Is this, like, some sort of supermarket brand? Can’t figure out if they use Valencias or not, I will investigate more…
Adams: I know nothing about it. Not Valencia peanuts, I’m sure.
Trader Joe’s??? Random internetting seems to say it’s good, but I can’t quite see how to buy it without going to a TJ, and I need to buy mine in great vats.
Sunland: 100% Valencia, organic! I just ordered 2 jars! Cross your fingers! Have you had it?
This brand, Sweet Ella’s, uses Spanish peanuts and de-skins (God! Why do people make skin-ful pb? Arrrrggghhhh) like any self-respecting pb…hmm, I might order a jar or two.
What’s up with this peanut butter made with palm fruit oil? Hmm. This company, Justin’s, makes those annoying little pb packets you see in health food stores. Ugh.
Not organic, and they admit they use the dreaded Virginia peanuts, but I’ve always been curious about Cream-Nut. Maybe I’ll buy a jar just for kicks. (This is how I get my kicks, yes.)
Santa Cruz organic—they say they use Spanish peanuts too. Hmm.
I don’t like these jars, or the labels, or that they don’t say how great their peanuts are, or anything. But I guess I should try all the pbs I can.
OMG DUDES!!!!!!! I just had an idea.
What if I made my own PB?
Oh god, that is going to be yet another pain in my ass.
Yet another thing in my life that seems so easy (akin to making tempeh, miso, shoyu, seitan, etc etc) yet ends up adding hours to my already cram-jammed days. But still! Homemade pb! Maybe I should be looking for peanuts…and a cute mill thingie! Vintage!!
I’m going to leave this where it is for tonight and go get ready to survive the Valentine’s onslaught and will return post-V-day with more thoughts and a dry mouth.
From eating peanut butter, you know.
(Why do I make jokes about being high? Want to know something? I’ve only smoked pot once, and it didn’t even work. But because I have no qualms about pot and rather wish I could figure it out because it seems so fun, I make a lot of weed jokes to myself.)
(I also say “that’s what she said” about 1,000 times a day to myself. I’ve found that if you are a “she,” and your mind is prone to wandering, TWSS easily becomes a weird post-thought to everything I say: “Veronica, could you open the oven door for me?” [that’s what she said.] If anyone has a remedy for this disease [pot?], please let me know.)
Final thought: here’s what Chowhounders have to say about PB. I disagree with most of it, but might be worth a read if you’re super into the topic. And what self-respecting vegan isn’t?