Finding the best products that have a long shelf life, provide the correct nutrition, and fit a person’s budget is quite a balancing act. Peanut butter stands up to the rigors of long-term storage and the taste test – it’s delicious.
So should you really stockpile peanut butter for survival? Is it a good idea?
Yes, you should definitely stockpile peanut butter for prepping purposes. It is an instant food, rich in nutrients, and high in calories, and there are claims it will last for 10 years in powdered form. It is easily available, cheap, and also versatile, as it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, and tastes good alone.
What a winner!
Store-bought peanut butter will last for up to 3 years if stored in a cool dry place, but usually it is given an expiry date of about two years from manufacture, and will usually last a year longer in optimum conditions.
Powdered peanut butter on the other hand is considered to last anywhere between 4 to 10 years. The best known make of powdered peanut butter is PB2 and is rehydrated with water, mixing until a smooth paste is formed.
However, the nutritional values differ greatly between natural and powdered peanut butter – two tablespoons of natural peanut butter typically contain around 190 calories, whereas powdered peanut butter has most of the oil removed in the drying process, resulting in a lot less calories – just 45 in 2 tablespoons.
Now it comes to weighing up whether you want to sacrifice the extra calories for the longer shelf life, and that choice is dependent on your circumstances.
Ingredients in Peanut Butter
The fats in natural peanut butter are healthy monounsaturated fats, however it is worth checking the ingredients in commercially made peanut butter because often other vegetable fats are added.
If the label contains the words ‘hydrogenated vegetable oil’, you may want to avoid it. Olives, soybeans or sunflowers may be used to create these oils, but it is the process used that can lead to the creation of trans fats, which are not good for you.
Trans fat consumption has been linked to lowering the body’s good cholesterol (HDL) and increasing the bad cholesterol (LDL).
Manufacturers add partially hydrogenated oils to increase the spread-ability of the peanut butter, because consumers want something that doesn’t break up their bread as they try to smear it on.
Then it comes to sweeteners – some brands add sugar or sweetener to make their peanut butter more appealing.
Sometimes, peanut butter can have a bitter flavour that isn’t even properly masked by the sweetness of the cane sugar. So, before you go out and stock up on a brand that’s on special, rather buy a few jars and compare tastes.
After all, when it comes to buying 30 jars or more of peanut butter to stockpile you may as well have a good brand that the family will look forward to using. Jif, Adams and Skippy are peanut butter brands that have been around a long time and are very popular.
Peanut Butter &Co have quite a few varieties that include dark chocolate, cinnamon and raisin swirl, as well as one that has honey added.
Some people like to buy a machine to grind their own peanut butter, because they then know exactly what is going into it, but unless you have a survival farm and are busy growing peanuts, it may not be the most practical move for people living in cities or suburbs, because the peanuts need to be dry roasted, ground and the peanut butter stored in sterilised containers.
Most people don’t have the time for this, so letting a manufacturer take care of all this under sterile conditions, makes sense.
Personal Peanut Butter Choices
Natural is usually good but in the case of stockpiling peanut butter for longer periods of time then you probably do need those preservatives that manufacturer’s add that will make it last that much longer.
People usually fall into one of two categories – smooth peanut butter fans or crunchy peanut butter fans, and it is rare to have an overlap.
Just think about family preferences when stockpiling so you have a mixture of crunchy and smooth jars of peanut butter to keep everyone happy.
Some peanut butters add honey, and again this is a personal choice. Because of the extra sweetness, peanut butter will not be as versatile.
For example you probably wouldn’t add honey enriched peanut butter to Asian curries or stir fries. It may also be a little runnier and stickier, when you spread it.
Then, it comes to the choice of stirring or non-stirring peanut butter. When you open a new jar some of the oil may have risen to the top and will need to be re-incorporated.
Stirring can take a minute or two but if you appreciate a great pure peanut butter that only has a little sea salt added then Adams peanut butter is a good example of a stirring peanut butter.
Skippy produces a no-stir peanut butter that is consistently good. The manufacturer of Jif peanut butter adds molasses for that extra flavour that has kept Jif sales top in the USA.
The company has been around since 1956 and has had ample time to perfect the recipe – and the 117.31 million Americans who consumed it in 2020 thought so too.
Identifying “Off” Peanut Butter
When stockpiling peanut butter, it needs to be rotated regularly. It can go off, but this is less likely to happen than, for example with dairy butter.
This is because peanut butter, although high in oils, only has about 2% water, whereas dairy butter has a 17% water content, and needs to be kept cool so bacteria don’t develop.
If you have had peanut butter for a while and it is way past its expiry date, then do a sniff and taste test:
- If it tastes rancid – meaning sour or bitter, then ditch it. People will say that it will probably be OK, but in SHTF situations you may not be able to get professional medical help should food be contaminated and make you ill.
- If it has gone dry and is a darker color than the normal tan we associate with peanut butter then follow the advice in the point above – ditch it.
- If you open a jar and there is some sort of white or green or whatever color growth on it, don’t even think – bin it.
Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
Stockpiling peanut butter is a yes because of the numerous health benefits, but these may vary from brand to brand depending on additives.
When stockpiling for emergencies you need food that will keep you fit, not just full. You will probably be moving more in bug out situations or having to do more physical work if electricity fails.
To cope, you need foods rich in anti-oxidants, and various other essential vitamins and minerals, high in fiber and with sufficient carbohydrates.
Peanut butter has:
- Vitamin E – good for skin and hair
- Niacin (B3) – helps convert carbohydrates to glucose and metabolizing fats
- Manganese – helps form connective tissue, healthy bones and regulates blood clotting as well as helping with regulation of blood sugar
- Vitamin B6 – benefits metabolism and the central nervous system
- Magnesium – regulation of nerve and muscle function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure
- Copper – for bone health and immune function
A little peanut butter each day can reduce the risk of heart disease and is really good for you, but, because of the calories in peanut butter it can lead to weight gain if it is consumed excessively.
Most preppers agree that peanut butter should be added to your stockpile because it is versatile, inexpensive, easily portable, instant, and above all delicious.