Ode to nut butters
If I were to open any college student’s pantry it would likely include at least one of two things: peanut butter and ramen. Both of these items are cheap, essential for those of us on a budget, and can easily be jazzed up to make a meal more interesting and make for a quick meal.
But, what if I were to tell you that there is more to life than your everyday Jif or Skippy peanut butter or that other types of nut butters exist?
Almond, sunflower seed, cashew, hazelnut and walnut butters all exist and provide great alternatives to spice up your lunchtime PB&J or as alternatives for those allergic to peanut butter.
Almond butter is a frequent alternative to the favored peanut butter. With a milder taste, almond butter pairs well with a variety of snacks. Justin’s Almond Butter comes in different varieties including, honey, chocolate and maple.
If you are hesitant and just want to sample the nut butter, single serving pouches can be purchased in most flavors.
Justin’s also sells Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, a salty and sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with a ripe pear. Martha Natha and Barney Butter are other common brands that sell alternatives and can be commonly found at a local Target or Safeway.
Second, for those of you who are diehard peanut butter fans and are not willing to try alternatives to your good friend the peanut, have no fear, you too can spice up your lunchtime meal.
The brand Peanut Butter and Co. offers a wide variety of PB flavors. In addition, to the standard smooth and crunchy Peanut Butter & Co. offers unique flavors including White Chocolate Wonderful, Bees Knees (honey), Mighty Maple, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, The Heat is On (chili/cayenne pepper) and, my personal favorite, Dark Chocolate Dreams.
Try these spreads on your PB & J, dolloped on your morning oatmeal for a protein kick, swirled in your greek yogurt or heated and drizzled over an Asian style stir fry.
These peanut butters are free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, plus minimal added sugar.
Just a little food for thought: Check Peanut Butter & Co.’s exceptional nutrition facts and compare to Nutella, another college favorite. PB & Co. lists peanuts as its first ingredient versus Nutella, which lists palm oil, sugar and then hazelnuts.
These gourmet peanut butters can be purchased at the local Tacoma Boys on 6th Ave.
Another option for those of you not yet willing to venture in to the land of other nut butters is peanut flour. Peanut butter is only 25 percent protein, while peanut flour is 50 percent protein and has no added salt or sugar. It can be mixed with varying amounts of water and formed into a paste or sauce.
This powdered form of peanuts is great for cooking, stirred into smoothies or greek yogurt, as a fruit/vegetable dipping sauce or substituted for flour in baking for a peanut flavored baked good.
If you’re interested in supporting a start-up peanut butter company, look no further than Wild Squirrel Nut Butter.
Wild Squirrel is managed by two University of Oregon undergrads, and the girls put a unique spin on peanut butter, much like Peanut Butter & Co.
The company blends peanut butter with add-ins resulting in unique flavor combinations such as Pretzel Pizazz or Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed (espresso chocolate PB). For more information on their products venture onto their website at http://wildsquirrelnutbutter.com/.
Next time you reach the bottom of your nut butter jar and need to refill your stock I challenge you to broaden your horizons and sample a new to you nut butter spread.
You may pleasantly surprise yourself and find that the void you’ve held in your heart can be filled with Peanut Butter & Co., Wild Squirrel Nut Butter or Justin’s Nut Butter.