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imagesI recently heard a podcast about peanuts. I found it most fascinating. This humble ‘nut’ started as something suitable only for animal-feed or the dregs of humanity. The peanut worked its way up as a cheap convenient protein source, only to explode into a stable of US kitchens. We all grew up eating peanut butter; it was ubiquitous in our school lunches.

Peanuts and peanut butter has lost its luster. Choosy mothers no longer choose JIF but something else entirely. They are skeptical of peanut butter’s calories, hydrogenated oils, and the lurking dreaded peanut allergy.

Like a lot of foodstuffs that became blasé in time the peanut is making a comeback via a reinvention. It is following in the footsteps of beer going from mass-produced rubbish towards ‘microbrews’ style butters and gourmet types.

The vast majority of peanut butter in the supermarket is made from ‘runner peanuts’, a peanut without complexity. The podcast hosts rounded up some of the imperial tidbit peanut butters and found them marvelous. They were complex, tasty, and remarkable, like my men.  They were particularly ga-ga over Koeze PB, made from a genera of peanuts called Virginia Peanuts.

Urs truly doesn’t eat much peanut butter given its calories, but let’s face facts: there is nothing more delicious than peanut butter on crackers with a glass of milk. If I am going to have some it might as well be ‘proper’ peanut butter. I ordered some online from Zingermans (the dears!) then I went off to Albertsons to buy me a typical jar as a control (Skippy) for my own double blind taste test.*


Behold the Butters !

Koeze PB had only two ingredients: Virginia peanuts and salt.

Skippy has peanuts, sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, and salt.

First of all I could taste a difference, which was nice. There is no point shelling out extra money if there isn’t any taste difference.

PB #1 was sweet and perhaps more complex with some slight bitter undertones.  It felt smoother on the tongue.

PB #2 was less sweet and in an odd way it tasted ‘more like peanuts’.  It had a simpler taste.

On crackers the nuances were not as obvious as when they were sampled via a spoonful.

Turns out #1 is Skippy and #2 is Koeze

This makes sense. Skippy has sugar and Koeze is merely ground up peanuts.  Add a bit of snob appeal and some PC views about staying away from sugar and additives and you get Koeze as the winner.

I had a slight ‘put off’ in the initial Koeze tasting as I am used to Skippy so Koeze didn’t taste ‘like peanut butter’ should. I know of a man who ate canned green beans all his life only to taste fresh beans properly steamed and he found them ‘not right’.

Spo-fans are urged to try some if they can.


Behold the battle of the butters; Someone is trying the crunchy one. 


*Sponsored by The NIMH and conducted by Someone.

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