Ducks Go Nuts
There are things we at Big Duck pretty much all agree on: Mad Men, James Brown, coffee. But peanut butter is a sticking point. Creamy or crunchy? All-natural or processed to the brink? Just about every member of our team has a distinct and deep-seated opinion on the subject. So in celebration of National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month we decided to nut up and throw down with the First Annual Big Duck Peanut Butter Taste-off.
We each contributed a jar of our favorite variety to compete in a blind taste test. (The ever fair-and-balanced Elizabeth acted as facilitator–the only one to know the true identity of each entry.) Our peanutty contenders ranged from grocery store brands to local and organic varieties with one homemade spread (Sarah’s Magic Nut Glory, recipe below) thrown in the mix. Each duck was sure theirs would come out on top.
Over the course of a lunch hour, we gorged on the gooey stuff. We slathered it on celery, heaped it on challah, relished it on a Ritz. And then came the scoring. Tasters gave each peanut butter points for texture, taste, appearance, and an overall rating. The verdict? Choosy Ducks choose…Jif. Well, sort of. The numbers place Peanut Butter & Co.’s Crunch Time, Smuckers Natural, and Sarah’s custom concoction at the top as well. But in an office where most of us prefer the farmer’s market to the supermarket, Jif’s high marks were the big surprise. The full results appear below along with additional peanut butter insights and revelations. You can also check out our taste-off photos on Facebook. Got a favorite peanut butter? Comment and let us know; it just may be featured in the second annual competition. As for us, we’re already starting to make plans for National Cookie Day next month.
Peanut Butter Chatter
“I’m a smooth peanut butter kinda guy, but I was surprised how much I liked the crunchy stuff. I’ll be officially switching to PB & Co.’s Crunch Time.” Scott
“I hope this doesn’t affect my job, but Sarah’s was actually my least favorite.” Sonny
“Yes, I did like some of the natural ones. But…I’ll be sticking with my Skippy.” Jenna
“Wait, you liked that one? That one was horrible. I put it in last place.” Dan
“I just ate way too much peanut butter.” Kat
Sarah’s Magic Nut Glory
– a few cups dry roasted unsalted organic peanuts
– some groovy organic sunflower oil (I like Hain’s)
– honey from local bees (they are nicer and better for your immune system)
– kosher salt (I’m crazy about the stuff)
My approach to cooking is more like crafting, so this recipe involves a fair amount of room for personal interpretation. Make it your own and let me know how it comes out! In a blender, blend as many peanuts as you can stand. For smoother peanut butter blend longer. Make a lot of noise and have fun. Transfer ground peanuts to a bowl and drizzle in oil one tablespoon at a time as you stir until the consistency seems about right. Fold in honey and salt to taste. Pop it in a jar and refrigerate. I’m not sure how long this stuff will last before botulism sets in- so I suggest chucking it in a week or two if uneaten, just to be safe. Variations: add cinnamon or cardamom powder in small amounts, and chocolate chips would be yummy too. Enjoy on a nice piece of grainy bread with sliced bananas on top.