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Organic v. Regular Peanut Butter ... can you really taste a difference?

For the life of me I cannot.

I can tell the difference between salted and non-salted, sugared and not, but organic versus regular? No.

I tried it today. I got suckered into buying a carton of freshly ground organic PB at the market. Took it home and did a blind comparo with my favorite jar of Jif.

Tasted them side-by-side it with bread, apple slices, celery sticks, crackers, and of course straight up. Nothing. No difference to this (untrained?) palate whatsoever.

Can you taste a difference? If so, what's the difference you're tasting?

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  1. Agreed -- can't taste a difference either. But that's not why I buy organic (certified) food whenever possible. It's a political thing. cf Diet for a Whole Planet.

    Taste-wise, though, fresh-ground is absolutely primo. I looove those machines in Whole Foods for just grinding your own. If you have a really powerful blender you can do it too. BTW, that and the chicken are the only things I'll ever set foot inside WF for. Also, I don't, frankly, trust their claim of "organic" on the peanuts they grind. I don't have much confidence that anyone in that store even knows what organic means. Though I've never tried them, I would be willing to bet that if you had a batch of freshly shelled (and/or roasted) organic vs similarly treated non-organic peanuts you might well be able to tell the difference. I bet those peanuts they're grinding in those supermarkets are so *old* that this determinant is most important to taste, not just organic-ness.

    Just guessing though. But I did once read that peanuts sit around in warehouses for years before ever going to market, typically.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aliris

      I grind my own at Whole Foods and the difference in taste is undiscernible. Like "love," the term "organic" has become overused and often inapplicable.

    2. I can't tell freshly ground organic to freshly ground non-organic but you can't tell freshly ground from Jif?

      3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I don't know what kind is your favorite but the regular Jif leaves an oily feel in my mouth, even after I've eaten it (kind of like a bad donut). It's also a lot sweeter and creamier.

          1. re: chowser

            Interesting. I actually find the freshly ground to leave a weird aftertaste.

            Maybe my mouth has been preconditioned for the synthetic PB. [Sigh.]

      1. Despite the fact that the meaning of "organic" has been diluted over time, it's still pretty much a good thing in my book, even if it doesn't always mean better taste. (Many people associate "organic" with "tastes better" because until recently, most organic products were also local, and local product usually tastes better because it is fresher, can be picked later, hasn't sat in a warehouse for weeks or months, etc.)

        As long as it doesn't taste WORSE it shouldn't bother you. If it costs a little more, well, that is the price you pay for not eating chemical-laden foods, not supporting a product that results in chemical fertilizers flowing into groundwater, etc.

        1. I can tell the difference between different brands of peanut butter (Jif vs. Maranatha), but not the difference between regular and organic within the same brand (Maranatha vs organic Maranatha). Jif is easily identifiable by the sweetness from added sugar and the oily mouthfeel from added hydrogenated oil.

          1. Are you comparing a freshly ground unsweetened peanut butter with Jif and not finding a difference in flavor?