The Spread: Smucker’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter

Photo credit: CBS New York

Hello and welcome to The Spread, your place for weekly takes on the hippest, richest nut butters on the market. Each week, I’ll eat and review a new variety, brand, and/or flavor of nut butter and give you the ooey gooey scoop.

Why? I spend far too much of my (monetary and caloric) allowance on nut butters and need some way to justify it. Cheers to a belated vindication of my spending habits!

Now, let’s dig in…

Smucker’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter

Flavor: 4.5/5- Pure peanut with an appropriate hint of salt.

Texture: 4/5- Sure, you have to give it a stir before enjoying, but the gritty cream and crunchy chunks are worth it.

Ingredients: Peanut and salt. Nothing wrong there.

Price: $3.79 for 16oz (as listed on Smucker’s online store)

We’re baptizing this weekly column with a chunky spoonful of one of my absolute favorite peanut butters: Smucker’s Natural Crunchy. This simple spread is made with only two ingredients, peanuts and salt, the way God intended. Still, with such a simple recipe, quite a bit of pressure is put on the balance of flavors. Too salty and your best attempt at a PB&J tastes like it’s been dipped in the Dead Sea, too nutty and it feels like you’re gumming a primitive protein supplement for the elderly. Smucker’s Natural strikes the right balance, combining the rich, roasted flavor of peanuts with just the right amount of salt to boost their savoriness.

Now, let’s talk texture. Smucker’s Natural is one of those peanut butters that will separate when left to sit because there are no added oils to keep the product emulsified. That means you’ll have to give it a good stir after bringing it home from the store (pro tip: storing your peanut butter jars upside down in the fridge can help prevent oil separation). It does happen to be pretty easy to stir, though, without many of the spills and splashes other natural peanut butters supply. Once mixed, you’ll find your spread teeming with satisfying peanut chunks. There’s also a nice grit to the cream, itself. It has the mouthfeel of a meal rather than that of a measly condiment.

Overall, this is a peanut butter for the no-nonsense consumer. Simple, savory, and satisfying, Smucker’s Natural pairs well with a simple, homemade jam or a bright yellow banana with nary a green patch or brown spot in sight. Since it’s not pre-sweetened, it’s also the ideal ingredient for confections such as no-bake protein balls or peanut butter butterscotch blondies.

This is not some factory-ground, high-processed, cafeteria-served lunch food. This is the peanut butter on the sandwich your grandma brought to school wrapped in wax paper and ate between one-legged jumps on the hopscotch course.

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