Nov 3, 2009

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Taste Test: The Results!

I am soooooo sick of peanut butter right now!

Sorry, I just needed to get that out.  Now, onto the main event.
Let's meet the contenders:

Vons Organics Old-Fashioned Crunchy Peanut Butter ($3.89/18oz Vons)
Laura Scudder's Old Fashioned Peanut Butter, Nutty ($2.49/16oz, Albertsons)
Trader Joe's Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter ($1.79/16oz).

I must mention that Trader Joe's also has an organic variety of the same PB for slightly more.  I'm kicking myself that I didn't write down the cost last time I was there, but I believe it was around $2.50, still a great value.

I didn't include Adam's or Smuckers PB in this comparison because they are distributed by the same company as Laura Scudder's so I'm pretty sure you can only find one of these three brands in a store at any given time.  You can order all of them from Smuckers website, but you have to buy a case of 6 at a time.

I'll start with my two daughters' preferences (ages 6 and 8).  As you can see, my son isn't too picky when it comes to peanut butter so I didn't even ask him.  He devoured all three without a blink.  My girls both agreed that they liked Von's Organics brand the best, but also agreed that Trader Joe's had the strongest peanut flavor.  Since younger kids typically like milder flavors, their choice didn't surprise me.

As for my husband's and my observations/opinions, I'll review each PB individually.

Vons Organics: Sealed for freshness, light peanutty, almost sweet aroma upon opening, mildest peanut flavor of the three, saltiness wasn't overpowering, stickier than the others, somewhat difficult to stir in the oil, the only organic brand of the three, $0.22/oz

Laura Scudder's:  No freshness seal, a roasted, almost burnt aroma, strong peanut flavor, salty but not too much, by far the most difficult to stir and incorporate all of the oil, $0.16/oz

Trader Joe's:  Sealed for freshness, darkest color and strongest peanut aroma, strongest peanut taste and the saltiest, the easiest to stir, oil incorporates easily, $0.11/oz

(Scientific looking, huh?)

It was interesting to me that the saltiness varied so much between the peanut butters since they all have close to the same amount of sodium per serving.  The other thing to note is that all three were tasted at room temperature.  Old-fashioned peanut butter must be refrigerated after opening and the strength of the flavor diminishes when cold.  For stronger flavor and easier spreadability, I'd recommend nuking the jar (lid off, of course) for several seconds before using.

So without mincing words, my favorite was Trader Joe's, my husband's was Laura Scudder's and my kids liked Vons Organics the best.  I'm chuckling to myself as I write this because after all the effort and planning, we couldn't agree on which one was the best.  I guess I didn't take into consideration personal preferences.  But I agree with my husband that the differences in taste were not so pronounced that we'd recommend spending any more money than you have to.

I'm fooded out for now.  I think my next review will be about something much more important, like..... hairspray. haha  lotsalove!


Sarah said...

Thanks for the taste test Angie! Try sticking one beater from a hand mixer into the jar of peanut butter and tightly grasp the jar to mix, slowly incresing the speed. We were raised eating natural peanut butter and my mom just recently found this trick out. It makes mixing the peanut butter so much easier!

Angie C said...

Thanks for the tip, Sarah. I know you can buy a special gadget for mixing old fashioned PB but using a gadget most of us already own is a great idea!

Shannon said...

I love this review. I especially love that you all had a different favorite. Isn't that just how it always goes in families?

So since you have become my own in home dietitian. What are your thoughts on Sunflower Butter? It is yummy. But is it any worse or better for you that peanut butter?

Angie C said...

Peanuts and sunflower seeds are very similar nutritionally. They both are high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin E as well as other nutrients. They are also high in disease-fighting phytochemicals. The main difference is in the structure of the fatty acids. The fat in sunflower seeds is mostly polyunsaturated while peanuts contain mostly monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats have shown to be more effective in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease, but polyunsaturated oils are considered "good fats" as well.

Swordfish said...

FYI the reason there is a difference in the "salty" flavor is because of how long they are roasted, not necessarily how much sodium is in the actual peanut butter. So the one that smelled kind of "burnt" was just more roasted which in turn brings out more nuttier flavor and the illusion of more salt. So go ahead eat the "saltier" one and know you are still eating somewhat healthy.

Angie C said...

Thanks for the info, Swordfish!

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