Are There Many Ingredients in Peanut Butter besides Peanuts?

Canadian pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson obtained the first patent for "peanut paste" in 1884, and by the end of the 19th century, peanut butter had become a high-protein food enjoyed by wealthy people, served exclusively at high-end health care spas. But over the following decades, it evolved into a staple of the American diet, enjoyed by people of all social classes. Today, to be marketed as "peanut butter," the mixture must contain a minimum of 90 percent peanuts, and contain no artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives -- whether the product is labeled as smooth or chunky, natural or regular. Otherwise, it must be sold as "peanut spread" or "peanut blend."

More peanut butter, please:

  • To stabilize peanut butter and eliminate separation, manufacturers may add a small amount of hydrogenated oil. Some commercial brands also add small amounts of sugar or salt.

  • In the United States, about 700 million pounds (318 million kilograms) of peanut butter are consumed every year. More than half of the peanuts grown in America are eaten in the form of peanut butter.

  • The use of peanuts dates back to the Aztec and Inca civilizations. Peanut paste may have originally been used by the Aztecs as a toothache remedy.

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More Info: The Peanut Institute

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Post 2

About 30 or so years ago, I helped set up East Wind Nutbutters. Among other managerships, I was East Winds first Quality Control Manager. Our peanut butter, whether crunchy or smooth, whether organic or not, whether with or without salt was (and is) what I call the World's Best Peanut Butter.

Peanut butter, to be spreadable, should have 55 percent oil. Less than 55 percent oil and the nutbutter can be served as thick or thin slices. More than 55 percent and it can be poured from the jar.

We prefer to get nuts which naturally have close to 55 percent oil because we could always add a little peanut oil to achieve the best spreadablity. Too much oil, and there was nothing we could do to make it stiffer and stay within our standards.

When I was at East Wind, we added between .5 percent and 1 percent salt. It was amusing -- FDA standards (for FDA approval) demanded a minimum of 2 percent (by weight)of salt -- so of course we were never FDA approved because we never had sufficient salt in our salty nutbutters to satisfy their standards. And we never added sugar.

Our peanut butter was always 99 percent to 99.5 percent peanuts for the 'with salt' and 100 percent peanuts for our 'no salt' peanut butter.

How do other companies fill up that 10 percent the FDA allows? I can understand adding salt and sugar to peanut butter because peanuts are expensive and salt and sugar are a lot cheaper than peanuts -- but 10% percent? That's a lot of sugar and salt.

Post 1

Even though Canadian pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson obtained first patent for peanut butter, George Washington Carver, we believe, developed peanut butter, peanut oil, non-food products (ink, paper, etc) and several other peanut-based products. Though he was not interested in fame, fortune, I believe we should still honor him for his contributions to our society.

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