*Stored Peanut Butter*
23 October 2010
I have had two small plastic jars of creamy all Natural Jif peanut butter stored for almost 11 months, according to the date on top of the jars. We had just run out of what we usually buy. I thought that it would be a good time to test one of the natural peanut butter jars for taste, smell, and texture. I had heard that the all natural peanut butter would not last and wanted to prove it to myself, so I had intentionally not rotated these two small plastic jars of natural peanut butter and two large plastic jars of creamy Jif with preservatives. The natural peanut butter does not have the preservative, but my wife buys it ever so often because we eat so much peanut butter, and she likes the all natural stuff to try to keep us healthier.
When I opened the jar and removed the seal, there was about ¼” of oil on top, but it smelled ok. I took a spoon and re-blended the contents in its jar. I did the taste test, and it tasted ok, but had just a very slight rancid taste, but hardly noticeable. (Note: It may have just been me expecting a rancid taste because I didn’t taste it later.) I then took the second jar and did the same because of the oil on top like the first jar. (Note: I had intended to save this jar for another few months to test it, but when the first jar was like it was, I went ahead and opened the second jar before it could possibly ruin.) My kids (teenagers) eat a lot of peanut better, and they ate it on their sandwiches that afternoon after school. I had not told my kids what I had tasted to see if they came to the same conclusion. They could not tell any difference other than it being the natural type which is a little thicker, stickier, than and not as smooth as other brands with preservatives. I do not believe that it would have lasted another month in my storage.
After finishing these two jars of natural peanut butter after about a week, I came to the conclusion that the peanut butter with preservatives is a much better value for long term storage. (Note: My storage area does get warm during the summer, but not hot, and very cold during the winter.) To prove this idea of the peanut butter, I opened one of the two large plastic jars of creamy Jif peanut butter in the back of our storage that had been with the all natural peanut. This jar was almost 13 months old, and subjected to the same conditions as the natural peanut butter. This peanut butter had no oil on top from separation as did the all natural peanut butter; there was no slight rancid taste, it smelled really good, and it spread smoothly. The kids and I seem to like this type of peanut butter a lot better. I do not know how long it will last yet. I still have a jar that I will open next year at 24 months.
My conclusion is that anything that is a processed food and marked Natural will not last long term. Dried foods such as beans, rice, sugar, spices, macaroni, etc. is much better for years in storage, but for a treat such as peanut butter, go with the type that has preservatives, and above all rotate your food stocks, whatever they may be.
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