Peanut butter is for way more than sandwiches—I’m talking ice cream pies, shakes and smoothies, granola bars, pizza, and even chicken. This creamy ingredient is a favorite not just of mine, but of Americans everywhere. Did you know that every year the United States produces 5.85 billion pounds of peanuts and Americans buy $1.85 billion dollars of peanut butter? Not hard to consider if you love a good PB&J—here’s the history behind peanut butter and jelly.
And if you’re one of those Americans who prefer natural nut butter, you know about “the” problem.
Non-natural peanut butters often use special oils to help extend shelf life, and stabilize the mixture to prevent separating. But natural nut butters lack the stabilizer (often palm oil, which is high in saturated fat), so the peanut’s own oils separate from the butter itself, especially at warmer temperatures. This separation is called syneresis, which is just a fancy word that means “liquid separating from a solid mixture.”
The liquid isn’t dangerous. Had it not separated from the peanut butter you would’ve eaten it anyway. But it can be annoying. Stirring the liquid back in takes a bunch of elbow grease. And because I’m messy, I always wind up splashing the oils all over the countertop.
If only there was some way to prevent syneresis in the first place! Wait…
Store your peanut butter container upside-down.
Yes, it really is that simple. See, the liquids that separate from the solid body of peanut butter rise to the top. Storing it upside-down will force the oils at the top to travel back through the butter, mixing right in themselves. And if the oil all travels to the bottom of the jar, just store it right-side-up until you use it again. Rinse and repeat.
So, when you’re done using peanut butter, keep this simple tip on rotation for easy spreading. Voila!
Next, don’t miss these other brilliant kitchen shortcuts you’ll wish you knew sooner.