- Dogs love peanut butter, and its nutritional value makes it a great snack for them, even improving the appearance of their coats.
- You can take advantage of this in many ways… for example, if your dog hates taking baths and it’s a chore to get him into the tub, smear a little peanut butter on the side of the tub. He’ll be so busy licking it off he’ll forget about the bath, and you can easily rinse off the residue afterwards.
- Peanut butter can also be used to administer pet medication– stick a pill in a spoonful of the stuff and they’re none the wiser. (Works on both dogs and cats.)
- In a pinch, smooth peanut butter can actually be used for shaving, if soap, shaving cream or oil aren’t available. It works surprisingly well, and is much cheaper (and often better for your skin.)
- Peanut butter makes far more successful bait for mousetraps than cheese does.
- You can use peanut butter instead of regular butter in any recipe. It won’t change the cook time or the appearance, and the change in flavor can be an improvement.
- Peanut butter can absorb unpleasant scents: for example, drop some in the frying pan after frying fish to keep the smell from invading your house.
- Smooth peanut butter can not only remove gum from your hair, it can remove other sticky things as well. These include cement glue, airplane glue or the residue left behind by price tags.
- Use any kind of peanut butter to plug up a leaking ice cream cone (leaving a tasty bonus at the end!).
- Bait a hook with peanut butter mixed with bits of cereal or bread. Some fish like peanut butter as well, including bluegills, carp and catfish.
- Use it as a natural leather cleaner: apply a dab, rub in a circular motion and remove with a buffing cloth. It works like a charm.
- The oils in peanut butter make it a good natural lubricant: even rusty tools like lawnmower blades can be loosened up. Car or truck axles can be greased with it as well; George Washington Carver even used peanuts in a recipe for axle grease.
Posts Tagged ‘facts’
“Organic,” “natural,” and “unrefined” are words that get tossed around a lot these days. It seems like just about every food manufacturer and brand name has come out with “natural” or “organic” version of their existing products to compete with healthier brands. You may be wondering what the fuss is all about– after all, what does natural peanut butter have that makes it worth your time?
It’s not a question of what natural peanut butter has… it’s a question of what it doesn’t have. According to federal law, to qualify as “peanut butter,” both regular and natural brands must include a percentage of peanuts which allows for only a small percentage of fillers, including salt, sweeteners or stabilizers. (The Saratoga Peanut Butter Company, however, does not add stabilizers or fillers of any type. Our mission is to make great tasting combinations and unique blends using only the natural nuts and other tasty additions, like cranberries, cherries, flax, cinnamon, etc.) The health benefits of peanuts are present in any product with peanut butter on the label. So what’s the harm in buying cheap, readily-available processed butters, exactly?
Well, let’s look at what’s added:
1. Too much salt. A report from the CDC indicates that Americans eat twice as much salt as is recommended. According to one of the authors of the report, “Sodium has become so pervasive in our food supply that it’s difficult for the vast majority of Americans to stay within recommended limits.” 77% of this intake comes from processed foods, and regular peanut butter is a frequent offender. Skippy brand peanut butter, for example, has 50% more salt than natural peanut butter, and more sugar as well. Which brings us to…
2. Too much sugar. A recent USDA report showed that Americans consume about 1/4 of all their calories from added sugars, and it’s no wonder. Like most popular processed products, regular peanut butter is almost guaranteed to include extra sugar: most of that unrestricted percentage of ingredients is typically sweeteners. They aren’t always labeled as sugar, either– be on the lookout for high fructose corn syrup or even molasses. Peanut butters labeled as “low-fat” are particularly likely to have extra sweeteners. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with real sugar, but eating too much of it may lead to weight gain and health problems like type II diabetes, and the fact that the market is saturated with products full of added sugar makes it harder to maintain your health.
3. Unnecessary stabilizers. Stabilizers are additives like hydrogenated oils, which keep peanut butter at a single consistency no matter the temperature. Even some manufacturers of “natural” peanut butter may add palm oil as a stabilizer, which adds 16-20% more saturated fat. Additives in peanut butter contain not only trans fats but also saturated fats, which have been linked to cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer. This is because the process of hydrogenating oils involves converting unsaturated fatty acids to saturated ones– hence the change in consistency.
There aren’t many good reasons to add these chemical stabilizers to peanut butter. Without stabilizers, the natural oils in peanut butter often rise to the top, and some peanut butter (though not Saratoga Peanut Butter Company brands) will go bad if unrefrigerated. That’s it. That’s why major manufacturers add these substances to their product: to make it look smoother, and to reassure consumers that it can be left on the shelf for eternity. Sure, you sometimes have to spend a few seconds mixing natural peanut butter to get an even consistency, but that’s a small price to pay for the knowledge that what you’re about to put in your mouth is nothing but heart-healthy peanuts and a little pinch of salt.
(One further thing to keep in mind: your choice of natural peanut butter can make a difference when it comes to baking. Sadly, many recipes are now written under the assumption that you’re going to use regular peanut butter, which (as we said before) has a different consistency and a very different taste. Because it has no added sugar, natural peanut butter can make some recipes taste saltier than they otherwise would, and the lack of artificial stabilizers can make foods like cookies spread more in the oven. Fortunately, it’s easy to correct for either of these issues when baking with natural peanut butter: if you find natural peanut butter not sweet enough, reduce the salt in the recipe by 1/4 tsp, and if you find that cookies made with natural peanut butter spread out too much, you can make them a bit smaller or slightly reduce the baking time.)
You may be inclined to think of nuts as nature’s junk food… a tempting, but ultimately unhealthy treat that you ought to avoid. After all, they’re high-fat and high-calorie, right? A glance at the nutritional facts for most nuts could make you think that, delicious though they are, they have to be bad for you.
Wrong. Actually, nuts are one of the healthiest foods around. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, young or old, an athlete or a couch potato: eating nuts is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and here’s why.
What Benefits Can You Get From Nuts?
They improve your cholesterol. Nuts themselves contain no cholesterol. None whatsoever. Not only that, they may actually lower your LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) when eaten regularly. It’s true that nuts contain a high quantity of fats, but remember that certain types of fat are not only good for you but essential for health. These include omega-3 and unsaturated fatty acids, all of which are found in abundance in nuts.
They could help maintain a healthy weight. Nuts have a very low glycemic index– in other words, they fill you up without causing a dramatic spike in blood sugar, like many processed foods. Over the long term, making nuts part of your regular diet can reduce weight gain and inflammation, and combat obesity.
They’re full of protein and fiber. Most people need about 30-60 grams of protein per day. Vegetarians have been substituting nuts for meat for years, and no wonder– they contain high levels of protein without the associated saturated fat and cholesterol. They’re also an excellent source of dietary fiber.
They have been shown to promote heart health. Several studies have found that people who eat nuts at least 5 times a week are 20-60% less likely to develop heart disease.
They contain vitamins and antioxidants. Nuts are practically a natural multivitamin: they contain lots of phytochemicals (compounds which may help prevent cancer) as well as copper, potassium, zinc, niacin, folic acid and even calcium.
Image: Arvind Balaraman
Peanuts are great for your heart. In one recent study, “a high monounsaturated diet that emphasized peanuts and peanut butter decreased the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 21% compared to the average American diet.”
As for nutrition, peanuts are slightly higher in protein than other nuts. They’re also chock full of vitamins, especially Vitamin E, which is great for your skin and has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, and anti-oxidants.
Almonds are higher in calcium and iron than other nuts, and are generally very high in potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and protein, making them an excellent choice for the health-conscious. A handful of almonds alone provides 85% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin E.
Almonds are beloved by chefs and bakers alike, and almond flour can provide a delicious alternative for people with specific diets: it’s low-carb and gluten-free.
Almonds have been loved for millennia; they originally come from the Mediterranean region, and were hugely popular in ancient Rome. Almonds were even found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. References to the tastiness of almonds can be found in numerous Shakespeare texts, and are scattered throughout the Bible.
Peanuts aren’t really nuts at all: they’re legumes, like peas and beans, and are grown underground.
In China, almonds are considered to be symbolic of female beauty.
Peanuts contain so many nutrients that peanut-based pastes are currently being used by a variety of organizations (including UNICEF and Project Peanut Butter) to fight malnutrition in third-world countries.
The natural oils in peanut butter make it useful in other ways: for instance, it can remove gum from a person’s hair!
Want to know more? Check out these sources: