Peanut butter is a versatile food which has soared beyond being jelly’s side kick on bread. Peanut butter can be used as a snack, as part of a full meal, in baking, and yes, even in cooking. It’s an economical source of protein and it is a wonderful food to pack for on the go because it won’t spoil as quickly as most animal proteins will.
Even though most people think of them as nuts, the peanuts which are ground up to make peanut butter, are part of the legume family. Peanut butter is packed with heart-protecting mono and polyunsaturated fats – which are the “good”, cholesterol lowering fats. Also the ratio of saturated fats to unsaturated fats puts it right up there with olive oil. Do keep in mind, however, that these fats are also what make peanut butter a high calorie food. Like other yummy foods, moderation is key so try to limit yourself to about 2 tablespoons – about 180 calories.
Peanut butter is a good source of protein, and essential vitamins and minerals which include Vitamin E, niacin, and magnesium. On average, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has about 8 grams of protein which helps contribute toward your daily protein needs and it provides energy while keeping you feeling full. Those two tablespoons of peanut butter also have about 2 grams of fiber (about 3 grams if you eat the crunchy). If you eat peanut butter with a fruit or whole grain bread, it can really boost your daily fiber intake.
For tasty ideas, look for peanut butter recipes like: yogurt peanut butter dip with fruit, Thai noodle dishes with peanut butter, peanut butter granola, and peanut butter smoothies. Peanut butter is consumed in 90 percent of households in the USA and Americans eat enough peanut butter in a year to make more than 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Because peanut butter is such an economical food, it’s good for you in so many ways, and it’s grown locally in Escambia County, it’s a great way to give to the local community. From now until November 15th, you can drop off any unopened jars of peanut butter to your local UF/IFAS Extension Office. All peanut butter will be donated to a local food pantry after Farm City Week. Your contribution helps keep children eating locally grown peanuts in healthy, nutritious, and YUMMY peanut butter.
Most of us don’t outgrow our love of peanut butter. You’re never too old for peanut butter, so go nutty – for yourself and to share with others.
For more information about peanut butter, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County Office at 850-475-5230.