Foods We Love: Peanut Butter | Seventh Generation
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Foods We Love: Peanut Butter

Author: LisaFerber

In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, I stocked up on nonperishables such as almonds, canned goods, and that old standby, peanut butter. Among the many wonderful things about peanut butter is that it doesn't need refrigeration or cooking, it's filling, and it makes me feel like a little kid. Plus it has that easy, ice-creamy quality (without all the sugar).

There are many stories about the origins of this spreadable protein source: Africans were grinding peanuts into stews as early as the 15th century, and the Chinese have mashed it into sauces for centuries. In 1890, a physician persuaded the owner of a food products company to process peanut paste as a protein source for people with poor teeth. Around this time, John Harvey Kellogg, of cereal fame, is reported to have patented a method for converting peanuts into a spreadable vegetarian health food that he could feed to clients at the Battle Creek, Michigan, sanatorium where he worked. His brother W.K. Kellogg soon opened Sanitas Nut Company, which supplied peanut butter to local stores.

While peanut butter is not exactly low in calories (about 94 in a tablespoon), a person does not need to eat much to feel full. It offers plenty of heart-protecting mono and polyunsaturated fats (the "good" fats that lower cholesterol), as well as protein (4 grams per tablespoon) and essential vitamins and minerals such as niacin, magnesium, and Vitamin E.

Here is a savory recipe for Indonesian Peanut Sauce, courtesy of It's a delicious satay flavor for veggies, tofu, or salad. And if any of the sauce gets on your counter, you can wipe it away with Seventh Generation Free & Clear Glass & Surface Cleaner, made with plant-derived cleaning agents and no harsh fumes.

Indonesian Peanut Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tablespoon)
  • 12 chiles de arbol or chiles japones, softened in hot water, dried, seeded, and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced galangal or ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer layers and green parts removed, minced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 shallots, minced (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon red miso
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup tamarind juice


Pound the salt and garlic in a mortar with a pestle into a fine paste. Add the chiles and pound to a puree. One at a time, add the galangal or ginger, lemongrass, shallots, and red miso, in sequence, adding each one only after the previous ingredient has been completely pureed and incorporated into the paste. Transfer to a bowl or to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerated, the seasoning paste will keep for a month.


Or, if using a blender, add all the above ingredients plus the vegetable oil and puree.


Sauté the chile paste in the oil (or the chile paste-oil mixture) in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it exudes a pleasant aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the sugar, peanut butter, coconut cream, and tamarind juice. Stir to mix, and heat until the mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.


Transfer to a bowl and let cool before serving. Stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator, the sauce will keep for a couple of weeks. If it congeals and thickens, dilute with 2 to 3 Tablespoons water and cook over low heat in a saucepan, stirring until smooth.


Yield: 1 cup


Photo: Sharon Drummond


OwlEyes picture
I have peanut butter, crazy Richard's brand, that contains Only peanuts and refrigeration is optional. The label indicates such and I've had it out of the fridge for two weeks now and it tastes just as fresh and tasty as when I first purchased!
Hilary Woo picture
Hilary Woo
I trust when we are without power ..thus refrigeration and light...we won't be too worried about added sugar in our peanut butter. Great recipe and thank you for more great ideas! LOVE Seventh Generation!
SouliciousLife picture
I make an Asian Peanut Noodle Salad that is addicting: Bonus: No vegetable oil required! Regards the refridgeration/shelf life point, I buy an all-natural, fresh ground peanut butter at my local co-op - just peanuts - and it does not require refridgeration. It's so delicious! I can't even eat regular store bought name brands anymore.
Jude113 picture
I have never seen a natural peanut butter that does not require refrigeration. You do realize that peanut butter that is shelf stable has added, often bad, fat (Skippy has hydrogenated oil) and usually added sugar as well(Skippy has 3/4 teaspoon of sugar per serving). I understand needing something shelf stable for hurricane preparation, in that case, hopefully you can at least find PB without sugar. For everyday purposes one should stick to the natural variety, just peanuts and salt (if desired). It is shelf stable until opened then it needs refrigeration. Also, it helps to store natural PB upside down in cupboard before opening, then give the PB a through stir after opening. Trader Joe's recommends this and it makes their PB much easier to stir. Once thoroughly stirred, I do not have separation issues.