Peanut butter is an energetic and greedy food, rich in proteins and healthy fats, to be enjoyed as it is or added to sweet and savory recipes
- What's this
- Nutritional values
- How to use
- How to prepare it at home
Peanut butter is a paste that is obtained from the seeds of the Arachis hypogea plant, an annual herb belonging to the Fabaceae family and native to South America, especially Brazil. Today the peanut is grown in various areas of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, but also in Europe. The peanut is a small plant, no more than 60 centimeters high, with a straight stem and leaves with a long stalk and consisting of two pairs of leaflets. From the flower develops the fruit, a legume, which contains two or three elongated and edible seeds, known as peanuts or American peanuts.
Peanuts, therefore, are legumes and are characterized by a high content of proteins (20-25%) and lipids (about 50%), as well as carbohydrates (13-25%). They are consumed as nuts, after roasting, and are sold with or without shells, often salted. Oil used in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries is obtained from the squeezing of peanuts, while peanut butter is obtained from the grinding of whole peanuts, a product particularly appreciated especially in America which is the largest consumer of this paste.
Peanut butter is a food rich in protein and fat, very caloric. Due to the protein content, mineral salts and vitamins, peanut butter is considered a superfood and, due to the large amount of energy and fat, its daily consumption must be limited and is not recommended during periods in which you are following a low-calorie diet for lose weight. One serving corresponds to 10 grams, about a teaspoon.
One hundred grams of product in fact provide the body with 625 calories, made up of about 10-15 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of protein and about 50 grams of lipids. The fatty acids most represented in peanut butter are oleic acid, linoleic acid and palmitic acid and, in addition, stearic, eicosenoic and peanutic acids are also present.
Peanut paste also contains minerals and vitamins. The minerals found in peanut butter are potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, copper, zinc and selenium. Among the vitamins we find above all those of group B such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6 or pyridoxine and biotin (B8).
When buying peanut butter, however, you must pay attention to the label since various types of oils are often added to the product, including saturated fats such as palm oil, to make the mixture thicker and creamy. Peanut butter is often also added with salt or sugar. When the peanut cream is obtained only by grinding peanuts it is more liquid, but certainly more healthy.
How to use
Peanut butter is generally eaten for breakfast or during mid-morning or afternoon snacks. It is often recommended after training and physical exercise to fill up on proteins, fats and energy and promote recovery after sport or intense effort.
It is excellent spread on bread, rusks, corn or rice cakes, crackers and other baked goods. The flavor of peanut butter blends perfectly with that of honey, chocolate creams, strawberry jams and orange marmalades. In this case, however, it must be taken into account that these combinations considerably increase the intake in calories, which is already high. Peanut butter can also be added to protein shakes, smoothies and muesli, giving them flavor and creaminess, enriching them with proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Peanut butter is also used to cook or spice up sweet and savory dishes. As for desserts, peanut butter can be used to replace part of the oils provided by the recipe and is great for making cakes, cookies, muffins and other baked goods. Peanut cream can also be used to prepare muffins with a soft and creamy heart: for this purpose it is necessary to freeze the peanut butter in the ice mold and insert a still frozen cube inside each muffin, immediately before cooking. A teaspoon of peanut butter is also perfect spread on fresh fruit for a healthy, energetic and delicious snack, or as a topping for chocolate ice cream.
In savory dishes, however, peanut butter can be used to dress salads and vegetables, adding it at the end of cooking, to prepare chickpea hummus as an alternative to tahini sauce or to enrich soups, cereal and legume soups and velvety vegetables.
How to prepare it at home
Peanut butter can be made in a simple way, by blending the shelled and peeled peanuts, that is, without the external cuticle. To obtain a 250-gram jar of peanut butter, just shell 300-350 grams of peanuts and place them in the food processor with a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of water and then blend them. Slowly the peanuts will begin to release the oil they contain and a thick and creamy mixture will form. When you reach the desired consistency and a homogeneous texture, pour the peanut butter into a jar to be kept in the refrigerator for no more than a week. A teaspoon of honey or malt can also be added to the basic recipe to obtain the sweet variant of peanut butter, excellent at breakfast and during snacks.
Food and nutrition