Monday, August 10, 2009

What do you do with peanut butter?

Yes, this is another clean out the pantry post. Yes, I know that I've done these before, but I am getting better at them right? Well, now I've got too much peanut butter. I'm suddenly faced with this dilemma after taking a few jars from my mom's survival pantry. Now I've got about 5 jars staring back at me. We all know how this goes. Luckily, it's not fatal. For the peanut butter, I mean. It'll survive an atom bomb.

I'm sort of biased against peanut butter like I am against cinnamon. I think I don't like it until it's used right and then it's magic. And aside from a few PB&Js or some chicken satay, I'm definitely in a rut.

But let’s back up the bus here and talk about where all this came from. See, I work in a science lab. Sounds way cooler than it is. Still, my boss is Super Science Genius Man, so the job has its perks, agricultural anecdotes being one of them. For the last few months, I’ve been counting peanut germination on a thermogradient table. Again, sounds way cooler. Somehow, Dr. G-Dawg (as he’s named in my e-mails) started giving me a lesson in peanut types.

*This is “passive research”, Eddie Izzard style. If my boss lied to me, tough bananas. I don’t wanna check facts! If I did though, I could give you a citation list as long as my blog. Seriously, he’s got enough publications is the Journal of Peanut Science to make your eyes bulge.*

Apparently, almost 80% of the peanuts produced in this country go to making peanut butter. Shyeah. The most common cultivar was flagrunner. Or polerunner. Flagpole? Florunner*. Let’s say the first one. Anyways, in the 90s, we were slammed with a tomato wilt disease that also affected these peanuts. Long story short, RIP popular cultivar. Lots of tears later, they found a new cultivar that had many of the same characteristics. Thus, peanut butter lived on.

But have you ever noticed those little red dots in your jars of PB goodness? I always though it was some spice or something. I don’t know, I’m not that smart. Apparently, it’s something entirely different. When peanuts are roasted, the paper around the nuts dries up, then they blow it off. That’s all fine and dandy. However, this new cultivar separates a bit, pinching a tiny bit of the paper inside. When it come time to blow off the roasted papers, that bit is still inside, and that’s the little red dots you’ve been staring at for the last two decades. Neat huh?

We’re constantly testing peanut cultivars here, partially to make sure we’ll have a backup in case anything else happens. So, in a small way, I’m personally responsible for the longevity of peanut production and ensuring that you’ll still be able to enjoy a good sandwich for years to come. YOUR WELCOME. I want a raise now.

Anyways, I've started a list of ways to use peanut butter. They range from common recipes to... let's say innovative uses around the house. You shall be privy to my experimentation. Cuz I'm cool like that. Stick around folks!

*Thanks B.


Rebekah said...

I think the clutivar name you were looking for was "Florunner"

Mary said...

I love peanut butter. And thank you for the informative post! (And I'm jealous of your 5 jars of peanut butter. I have 5 bottles of Sweet Baby Rays. My husband is terrified of running out of it!)

Zylo said...

I love Sweet Baby Ray's! I used to eat a ton of it on Publix chicken fingers. It's almost stupid, but I rarely have barbeque sauce around despite the fact that I love it so much. Weird.