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September 2007 Issue
Peanut Butter
by J. Sinclair
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With kids going back to school, parents everywhere might be stocking up on peanut butter. However, this versatile ingredient is for more than PBJs. Developed in 1890 and promoted as a health food at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, peanut butter is a blend of ground shelled peanuts, vegetable oil (often hydrogenated) and usually a small amount of salt. Peanut butter is sold in two forms-smooth or chunky, which contains bits of peanut. It can be easily made at home in a blender or food processor. Natural peanut butter must be refrigerated after opening and can be stored in this manner up to 6 months. Most other commercial peanut butters can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months. Peanut butter is high in fat and contains fair amounts of iron, niacin and protein.

Some other facts about peanut butter:

  • Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.
  • The oldest operating manufacturer and seller of peanut butter has been selling peanut butter since 1908.
  • Peanut butter was the secret behind "Mr. Ed," TV's talking horse.
  • Peanut butter is the leading use of peanuts in the USA.
  • The world's largest peanut butter factory churns out 250,000 jars of the tasty treat every day.
  • Peanut butter is consumed in 89 percent of USA households.
  • 60 percent of consumers prefer creamy peanut butter over crunchy.
  • It takes two grindings to make peanut butter. The intense heat produced from one, long grinding would ruin the flavor of the peanut butter.

Of course, it wouldn't be an Ingredient Focus without a recipe or two ... or three. Here are a variety of my favorites ... savory, sweet and healthy! Enjoy.

 

Nutty Noodles

  • 1/2 cup low fat, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 6 cups cooked spaghetti noodles
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets, cut in thin slices
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons dry roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
In a large bowl, mix chicken broth, peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, garlic powder and red pepper. Place cooked noodles in the bowl and coat with the sauce. Remove noodles from the bowl, saving remaining sauce. Place noodles into a covered dish and put into a warm oven.

Pour the remaining sauce into a large skillet. Stir fry the onions, carrots, broccoli and snow peas for 1 to 2 minutes in the sauce. Add the red cabbage and stir fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add the vegetables and sauce to the noodles and mix. Garnish each serving with chopped peanuts.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes
 

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