The great Peanuts cartoon creator Charles Schultz describes Snoopy as “a little bittersweet, but he’s a very strong character”. The same could be said of the peanut butters we tested. The pure 100% peanut butter has a sweetness and yet it’s savoury and satisfying.
The latter isn’t surprising as the average pot has about 20% protein which is far more than many spreads and preserves. We can expect to feel fuller for longer when peanut butter spread on bread or crackers, or added to a smoothie with banana and milk as an afterschool treat. It will add creaminess and weight to vegetable stir-fries or in chicken dishes.
In peanuts we also find vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, zinc and fibre. Roasting does not appear to diminish the health benefits.
Argentina is the source of most peanuts in butters we tasted, but they are also grown in Georgia, Gujarat, Bolivia and China. Most labels state they are from non-EU countries, but it seems they all travel by sea which is kinder to the environment than air freight.
We eliminated butters with lots of added sugar and various oils which manufacturers still use, such as palm oil from unsustainable sources. We chose smooth butter as it was more popular with our tasters than crunchy.
With 100% peanuts, this has a more-ish toasted flavour which tasters loved. With a slightly looser texture than some others, it pipped the Lidl sample to the post. Top score for taste and value.
Made from 100% peanuts, this is hard to beat. Tasters kept coming back to this to decide if they liked it better than Aldi’s, and it only missed one taster’s top vote. Produced in Rotterdam. Delicious. Excellent price.
With 59.7% peanuts, the remainder is sunflower oil, agave syrup, and a rich 5.6% cocoa powder with a little Irish sea salt. Sugars are 9.4%, protein 21% and salt 1.5%, this is far more nutritious than chocolate and hazelnut spreads which have a hefty 56% sugars and a mere 6.3% protein.
A delicious treat made in Nenagh Co Tipperary. The plain version is very good too.
We bought in O’Driscolls, Ballinlough, Cork.
Made in Britain from 100% peanuts, no added salt means it’s had a clean taste we all liked. 'An honest, open butter' was one remark. The label suggests trying a swirl on porridge or rice cakes.
With 96% peanuts, oil is certified sustainable palm oil and peanut oil, sea salt brings salts to an acceptable 0.70%, no added sugar, nice spreadable texture, tasters liked flavour.
With 100% peanuts, the list is as short as can be which means the oil which separates is also peanut oil. This should be stirred into the nuts to bring it back to full creaminess, but is handy for stirfries if there’s any excess. A slight grittiness here with a natural taste which tasters appreciated. Tops with juniors and seniors. Made in the Netherlands.
With 96% roasted peanuts, this has sustainable palm oil and 1% sea salt. The juniors especially liked the texture as it didn’t drip. The salt proportion was just right. We bought in SuperValu.
This appealed to tasters for the 99.9% peanuts. The antioxidant is extract of rosemary which we didn’t see in other samples. Not surprisingly, it didn’t show in the taste. While not as nutty in flavour as some samples, perhaps as there was no salt bringing out the flavour (good for children), the taste was clean and natural. Made in Co Meath.