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Sep 27, 2010 11:28 AM

Need help with Peanut Butter

The only kind of PB I'll buy is the 'natural'; peanuts and sea salt. Anything else is candy, not PB. My problem is I am physically unable to stir it sufficiently so that it is well mixed. Can I put the jar (without the cap) in the microwave for about 30 seconds to loosen it? Is there an easier method?
Please help.

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  1. The basic composition of peanut butter, which you'd expect to be the same everywhere, just isn't - when I lived in Illinois and Tennessee it was stiff as you describe it, while here in SoCal it's almost soupy. I used to attack the stiff stuff with a steak knife after leaving the jar head-down overnight at room temperature, and maul it into submission by simple brute force. Warming it more would certainly be helpful; I'm wondering if warming it in a pan of water, like what one does to de-crystallize honey, might do the job more evenly than nuking it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Will Owen

      AHA!! Good idea, Will. Warm water just might work. There is a brand that used to be in the market here, Adam's, that had using the microwave before mixing written right on the label. Mixing it was very easy for me and it was also the best tasting brand. I wondered if other jars were microwave safe as well but wasn't about to take a chance.

    2. Hello! I don't have trouble stirring my PB, but I do think it is a pain. I have considered buying one of these:
      They fit on standard glass jars and have a crank handle with a mixing stick that descends into the jar and does the stirring for you with the lid on. I haven't tried it myself but it looks like a good idea. I also store my unopened jars of PB upside-down for a few days. Then, when I turn it over, the oil is at the bottom of the jar. I don't see why a few seconds of microwaving would hurt either. Just (as you say) leave the metal lid off.

      8 Replies
      1. re: LolaP

        PERFECT! It's just what I need. I'm not sure what turning the jar upside-down does. Why is it easier to mix when the oil is at the bottom?

        1. re: mucho gordo

          If you get one, please do report back on how well they work! As for storing upside down: when the oil is below the blob of PB it makes it less likely to spill when you start stirring. It doesn't make the stirring itself any easier though--just less messy.

          1. re: LolaP

            I do plan to get one, Lola, and will certainly let you know how it works out.

          2. re: mucho gordo

            Right, it's just easier. But I keep my peanut butter on the counter and turn the jar over every couple of days so it doesn't get to the oil on top concrete on the bottom stage. A couple of days ago I used my stick blender right in the jar to mix it and it worked pretty well.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              No oil splashing over? I've heard that technique, but don't want to pour any oil out.

              1. re: mcf

                I started really slowly and blended just the top first, then once then worked my way down.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  No goggles or fishing bib overalls? ;-)

          3. re: LolaP

            Thanks for that! Perfect stocking stuffer for my PB jonesing husband. Smucker's creamy all the way. We've tried all the rest, they're the best, IMO.

          4. I've seen "no stir" natural peanut butter.

            Also, some Whole Foods stores have peanut/almond grinders- you grind your peanuts fresh into a container. They tend not to separate.

            6 Replies
            1. re: cheesecake17

              No stir 'natural' peanut butter has the peanut oil replace with palm oil which is naturally hydrogenated and doesn't seperate. I'd rather stir the jar!

              1. re: Kajikit

                Yep, if you choose natural peanut butter for health reasons, it makes no sense to choose pb with palm oil...not healthy. I was so sad that the seaweed snacks I tried recently that taste so darn good had the second ingredient: palm oil. Tao Kae Noi I think they are...once in a while, I guess but not all the time.

                1. re: Val

                  Hmmm, I have read that there are two kinds of oil from the palm. One is palm oil and one is palm kernel oil. I have also read that the kernel oil is the one that is bad for you and the 'palm oil' is not bad for you. I don't really know but it might be worth investigating! Also, peanut oil is not exactly healthy so it might not hurt to try one of those no-stir healthy brands. I'd compare labels for nutrition facts and see if there is a difference.

                  Of course, I've also noticed that there is a great deal of argument for and against the oils from palm plants so there might be some different views on what is and isn't a healthy oil.

                  1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                    Hi, MM...I've done some research (for myself) on this ... Dr. Oz doesn't rec the palm oil and neither does Dr. own internist, who is specializes in lipids, doesn't like palm oil either. Here's dr Oz' link just in case you want to read it...Dr. Weil has a link that discusses palm kernel oil vs. palm oil also, very I said, once in a while probably will not kill me, but I eat nori every day now...I'll stick with the plain nori sheets...and thank you for the's always great to discuss these matters! I WILL look into those no-stir peanut butters...thanks again!

                    1. re: Val

                      I'll have to go check out the link, thanks! I had finally decided that palm oils were not for me when I read the back of my favourite packaged cookie, Newman's. They wrote it so well that I was sure I must have been wrong and decided that maybe palm oil, not kernel oil, was just fine. It is too hard to be sure these days!

                      Although, I haven't done what I usually do which is to ask my BF if he can research it for me. He used to do tons of research for journal publishers and knows all the good places to get real published medical journal research results. I have heard that pubmed is pretty reliable but I'm not 100% sure on that. Either way, I like the discussion of these topics, too! We've got to learn somehow...

                2. re: Kajikit

                  I didn't know that! I usually buy the fresh ground stuff as I need it. And when I bake, I use Skippy or Wegman's brand.

              2. Are you keeping your PB in the fridge? If so, let it come to room temp.

                If you want to heat it up, use the baby bottle method. Bring some water to a boil, and stick your PB jar in the water until it's warm.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I put it in the fridge after I mix it, not before. No microwave, eh?

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    I've seen lots of mishaps with microwaves and PB in a jar (living in a college dorm with a bunch of half-drunk PB loving roommates ...).

                    I'm sure you could do it, but I would just begin by using the lowest setting possible (maybe "Defrost"), and go from there. Water bath is more of a hassle, but less risk involved.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      OTOH, I could check with the mfr. There's usually a number to call for info/comments.

                2. I know what you mean about how difficult it can be to stir natural peanut butter. I've found that if I empty the contents of the jar into a large mixing bowl it's much easier to stir. You can use a larger spoon and you have much more room to work with. Once it's mixed to your liking you can just put it back in the jar. I then refrigerate the peanut butter so it doesn't separate anymore after the initial mixing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: schmoopy

                    I also use a bowl but with electric mixer on low, spatula back into jar and into the fridge. Pretty much stays 'just right' then.