Peanut butter is one of life's greatest pleasures. You can put it on almost anything and we can almost guarantee that it will taste better. Plus, a serving size of peanut butter packs in around 8 grams of protein and lots of healthy fats to keep you feeling full throughout the day. Whether you're a smooth operator or a super chunk enthusiast, there's no wrong way to eat peanut butter.
But…did you know there are wrong ways to store it, stir it, and spread it? Are you missing out on new ways to use it? Keep reading for peanut butter mistakes you probably had no idea you were making, and for more helpful tips, be sure to check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
You're throwing away the jar when there's still peanut butter on the sides.
The oiliness and stickiness of peanut butter make it such a pain to try and rinse out the jar before recycling. Luckily, there are delicious ways to get almost all of it out: overnight oats, chia pudding, and pretty much any other "mason jar" meal you have in your arsenal. Toss all the ingredients in the almost empty jar of PB, pop it in the fridge overnight, and when you stir it up and serve, you'll have a yummy breakfast, less waste, and a much easier clean-up. Check out our list of 9 more peanut butter hacks.
You're spreading it wrong.
If you're a chunky peanut butter lover, chances are you know the pain that comes with trying to spread it on bread and subsequently ripping it to shreds. Before you make the switch to smooth peanut butter, we have a few solutions. First, instead of putting one big dollop of peanut butter in the middle of the bread, use multiple smaller spoonfuls around the surface—this will make it easier to spread.
Another option is to warm up the peanut butter before you use it. If all else fails, consider switching up your bread. Opt for firmer, heartier varieties (like these best store-bought breads) instead of super soft pre-sliced bread. If that's your only option, try toasting it for a few minutes first to create a firmer surface.
You're storing it right side up.
If you use the kind of peanut butter that separates (like most natural varieties), you're probably familiar with the arm workout that comes with stirring it up. But did you know that storing your PB upside down all but eradicates that problem? Yup. The oils rise to the top and the actual peanuts come to the bottom, so when you flip it over to open your jar, you'll only need to give it a quick stir before serving. It's one of our 11 Genius Peanut Butter Hacks!
You're not using it as a butter substitute.
If you ever find yourself following a recipe only to discover you're out of butter, peanut butter works in a pinch! You can add a 1:1 ratio of peanut butter to oil in most dishes. This is an especially delicious substitute in desserts, as it will give whatever you're making a hint of peanut butter flavor. Who knows, you might like it better than the original!
You're stirring natural peanut butter incorrectly.
We already discussed the upside-down storage option, but if you're not fond of that (it can create a bit of a mess if the seal on your jar isn't super tight), make the stirring process a little easier by purchasing a peanut butter stirrer! Yes, you read that right. If you or a loved one is obsessed with PB, it'll quickly become one of the handiest utensils in the kitchen. If you're not ready to spend money on a single-use utensil, using an immersion blender will combine the oil and peanuts in no time.
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You're storing it in the wrong place.
Before you stash your peanut butter, do you look at the label? Depending on the kind you have at home, it might need to be refrigerated. Why? Most "natural" peanut butters, which only have one or two ingredients, spoil faster than their shelf-stable counterparts due to the oils. Natural peanut butter will last about a month in the pantry, which could be more than enough time if you're a peanut butter lover. But for those who go through it more slowly, the fridge is your best bet.
You're not warming up your PB&J sammies.
Most of us didn't grow up with the luxury of a warm peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But now that we're older and wiser, we can indulge in the luxurious pleasure of a melty childhood favorite. To create the perfect toasted PB&J, put together the sandwich as you normally would, butter the bread, and heat it up in a frying pan until it's golden brown. There you have it, the perfect comfort food! And while you're at it, are you making any of these other peanut butter and jelly mistakes?