When I started researching stocking my pantry, I ran across a reference to powdered peanut butter. Images of astronaut food and hikers came to mind, but the idea of having a very shelf-stable product appealed to me. And then I read a description of what reconstituted peanut butter tasted like. I’d sooner help myself to a bowl of wet cement. I mean, I’d be happy to have it during a nuclear winter, but, I wasn’t tempted just yet to load the pantry shelves with it. So I gave up on that particular idea and decided to stock up on the jarred variety instead. Its shelf life is pretty decent and in our household, there would never be a problem of rotating the jars – we consume the stuff too fast.
And then PB2 brand powdered peanut butter was profiled in my April 2012 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter that gave it a rave review and I knew I had to give this product a try. Amazon.com had a deal where you could get the regular peanut butter powder, plus a peanut butter-chocolate powder and a small bag of peanut butter “thins” for what seemed like a reasonable price – it’s not a cheap way to buy peanut butter, however. (Whole Foods sells it or you can purchase directly from the company.) I just got the products a few days ago. Since I’m always on the lookout for ways to reduce artery-clogging fat from our diet, these powdered products were especially appealing – because they have less calories from fat than jarred peanut butter (16g of fat in 2 tbsp. of the jarred natural peanut butter I currently use compared with 1.5g for the same serving size of PB2. Wow.). The amount of sugar (1g per 2 tbsp. – the same as the jarred stuff) is pretty decent.
The powders come from Bell Plantation (they also sell peanut oil) which has a pretty impressive website with tons of recipes and detailed nutritional information about their products. Here’s part of why this product would be appealing to people like me who are trying to eat healthier and who are cutting down fat in their diets:
…our special process removes 85% of the fat calories without the chemicals typically used in producing reduced fat foods. Something else you won’t find in PB2 is preservatives.
So I spent the morning messing around with the powders and my camera. The powder smells good and has a nice, soft consistency. It was quite easy to stir together and it smoothed out nicely. The finished product looks just like what you’d scoop out of a jar. I even added roasted peanuts to one batch. The chocolate version was thinner than the peanut butter one, but adding a little bit more of the powder thickened it up. If you’re wondering about the (tiny!) peanut butter cookies/crackers, I found them ridiculously sweet. I might turn them into a pie crust base, however. Peanut butter chocolate creme pie anyone??
This is all well and good, right? But does it taste like wet cement? Happily, no. Not even close. However…I also didn’t detect a whole lot of peanut butter flavor. Eating it made me want to scoop up a big spoonful from my jar of peanut butter and snarf it down. As for the chocolate peanut butter, it was kind of the same issue. Not much chocolate flavor, not much peanut flavor. And there was just something…off about the texture of both spreads. Obviously fat adds flavor and it adds creaminess. Is PB2 acceptable? Yea, sure. It is great to have in the pantry and certainly for traveling it would work quite well. And if one is looking to shave fat calories… Will I use it every day? No. Despite my love of peanut butter, I keep consumption to a minimum, so I’m not too worried about the fat content. What I really want is delicious, nutty peanut butter.
I am curious about baking with it. As I mentioned, Bell Plantation has a whole heck of a lot of recipes on their site. It’s probably worth baking with both products – or trying them in smoothies – for a more complete taste test.