There are some differences between Natural Jif and Simply Jif:
- Natural has 190 calories per 2 tbsp. serving, with 130 from fat. Simply has the same overall calories, but 140 are from fat.
- Natural has 80 mgs sodium/serving. Simply has 65 mgs sodium/serving.
- Natural has 3 g sugars/serving. Simply has 2 g sugars/serving.
- Natural is made with palm oil. Simply is made with “fully hydrogenated vegetable oil (rapeseed [canola] or soybean).
Simply Jif really is lower in sodium and in sugars. However, Simply Jif uses hydrogenated vegetable oil, while Natural Jif uses palm oil (a naturally saturated vegetable fat that is semi-solid at room temperatures). The difference in oils used might be a concern for some.
So, which peanut butter do you like and buy? I never cared for peanut butter much until I discovered Laura Scudder’s natural version years and years ago. And that’s what I’ve used ever since. I think natural tastes more peanutty, and it’s not sweetened. Plus I’m not a fan of the ultra creamy, shortening-like consistency and mouth-feel of peanut butters like Jif and Skippy. But I realize I’m in the minority. Some people don’t like the slight grittiness of most natural peanut butters.
|My half eaten jar of Laura Scudder's|
However, the biggest downside to natural peanut butter is the need to stir the oil into the peanut solids. If the jar is fresh, that’s not a problem. But if the jar has been on the grocery store shelf for a while, then you’re dealing with a hard section of peanut mass that’s almost impossible to get a spoon into. (For some reason, Trader Joe's unsalted natural peanut butter is much easier to stir.) I usually microwave the open jar on the defrost setting for about 20 seconds at a time, stirring little by little with the handle of a wooden spoon until all the solids are evenly combined with the oil. Believe me, it takes some muscle power. And you’ve got to be sure you’ve blended every bit thoroughly. Otherwise, when you get near the bottom of the jar, you run into dry, hard, globs of peanut cement. I’ve got the patience to do that. My husband -- not so much. That’s why we started venturing into more traditional style peanut butters.
I have tried so-called “No-Stir” natural peanut butters, like Maranatha and Full Circle brands, and been disappointed. They’re usually made with palm oil to supposedly provide a no-stir, creamy texture. But despite what the label says, I’ve discovered that there is, indeed, stirring required. They often have a tell-tale layer of oil floating above the peanut solids. I’d heard good things about Justin’s brand, but yesterday when checking it out in Safeway, I spotted a layer of oil at the top of the jar. Plus it costs about $2.00 more than either Laura Scudder’s or Adams. And quite a bit more than Trader Joe's. So I passed it up, but maybe I really should give it a try.
What brands do you buy and why? Or, equally important, why don’t you buy certain brands? Just as Bev gave me a nudge to look for another peanut butter option, we can share information here. Who knows what we might discover?