Peanut Butter

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The modern version of peanut butter was apparently developed around 1890 in St. Louis or in Battle Creek, Michigan. Commercial peanut butter is made by heating the nuts to an internal temperature around 300°F/150°C to develop flavor, blanching in hot water to remove the skin, and finally grinding them with about 2% salt and up to 6% sugar. The oil can be prevented from separating from the solid peanut particles by adding 3–5% of a hydrogenated shortening that solidifies as the butter cools and forms a host of tiny crystals that hold the very unsaturated, liquid peanut oil in place. Low-fat peanut butter is made by replacing a portion of the peanuts with soy protein and with sugar.