In England, we don’t eat peanut butter to the same extent as Americans (most people in the USA eat it everyday). But millions of people do spread it on toast, make a peanut butter sandwich or use it in cooking. But many brands contain (there is no such thing as ‘sustainable palm oil’) and its use is harming the habitats of orangutans and other endangered creatures.
Keep nuts, seeds (and nut/seed butters) away from small children, due to choking hazards. Although peanut butter in dog biscuits is usually okay, peanut butter alone is too high in salt and fat (some brands also contain pet-lethal xylitol). Read more on food safety for people & pets (many human foods are unsafe around animal friends).
Peanut butter should really just be blended peanuts, but big brands often add palm oil, sugar and sweeteners to eek more profit and use less nuts (a good jar takes over 500 peanuts). Sold in smooth or chunky versions, most people in Europe eat less than 1 tablespoon a year, whereas most Americans are addicts. The good news is that compared to some nuts that have sustainablity issues, peanuts are pretty okay, need little water to grow and are recommended by environmentalists as ‘the nut of choice’ for butters.
Why Which? magazine is recommending palm oil peanut butters in its taste tests, is anyone’s guess (they need to pop over to Greenpeace’s website and do their homework about ‘sustainable palm oil’). Their next choice is Asda peanut butter, which doesn’t even bother with the sustainable bit, and just includes palm oil. Waitrose peanut butter also contains palm oil (more profit for them, at expense of orangutans) as does Morrisons and Aldi.
The two best-selling brands also contain palm oil. Sun-Pat’s website states that when it ‘finds an ingredient to match it’, they will use it (many artisan brands are already doing that, so what’s the wait?) Whole Earth uses a tiny amount of palm oil (to prevent the oils separating, otherwise you’d ‘have to stir the jar’). Most of us would prefer to stir the jar, rather than impact orangutans. There is a lot of greenwash about ‘needing to use palm oil’. But remember, this is a cheap oil imported from thousands of miles away, whereas many other companies are doing fine, using alternatives.
Proper Nutty promises ‘no palm oil, no plastic, just nuts’. Sold in jars or metal tins, it’s made with ethically sourced peanuts in small batches, ground to smunchy texture, and with a little sea salt.
Pip & Nut (founded by an athlete who wanted a palm-oil-free peanut butter snack after her runs) offers peanut butter made with golden roasted peanuts and sea salt, and nothing else.
Meridian is ‘king of the palm-oil-free peanut butters’. Everything is free from palm oil and sold in various textures and flavours. Whole peanuts are roasted in their skins to give tasty offerings like;
- Smooth or crunchy
- Maple syrup
- Chocca spread
To remove gum stuck in hair, cover with olive oil (or peanut butter – not near dogs or they’ll lick your head!) Wait a few minutes, and it should come out, then wash your hair. Read more solutions to prevent chewing gum litter.
simple ideas to use peanut butter
homemade peanut butter (Addicted to Dates)
- On toast, or swirl into plant-based yoghurt
- Use it on top of your morning porridge
- Add to smoothies, to create more protein
- Add to homemade hummus or dips
- Top pancakes and waffles
Peanut Butter Cups (Crowded Kitchen) are the homemade vegan answer to Reese’s peanut butter cups. You can make a batch of these to store in the freezer.