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I love peanut butter and have probably tried every brand going. I can't taste the difference between most brands so I used to go for the cheapest. However, I was aware that some brands contain quite a lot of sugar, and as I can happily eat peanut butter all day long - well, almost, I decided to look for a product without added sugar. That was some time ago now, and having tried the Whole Earth smooth peanut butter, I haven't bought another brand. My last jar cost 2.68 for 340g in Tesco. So it isn't the cheapest version you can buy but thankfully it tastes good enough for me not to quibble about the price.
I was quite surprised to find that I did not miss the lack of added sugar in the slightest when I first tried this. It is a delicious nutty tasting "butter" with a particularly creamy texture, and a perfect smoothness that makes spreading it easy. There is a little added salt, which can't be tasted directly but probably helps to bring out the full flavour. I find that having eaten this for a while, if I eat other peanut butters with sugar in, they taste too sweet for me to really enjoy as much as I did before. But as long as I have the Whole Earth version, I'm happy.
I sometimes make biscuits containing peanut butter, and the Whole Earth one works perfectly using the usual recipes, although I slightly increase the amount of sugar to take into account the peanut butters lack of it. Mostly I use the peanut butter as a quick and tasty toast topping, with perhaps some banana on top too. As a vegetarian I like the fact this is an easy way to add protein to my diet, and a very palatable one too.
I certainly recommend the Whole Earth peanut butter, because it has a great flavour and texture. if the no added sugar part is not of particular interest to you then there are many cheaper peanut butters you may like to consider instead, and indeed some of the supermarkets also offer low or no sugar versions. but I like to spend a little extra to support a company that seems to behave in a reasonably ethical way. For example, the palm oil they use is sustainably sourced, and they consider the environment in their work practices, being a certified carbon neutral company. (See their website for more.) All in all, I would say this is worth the price.
I LOVE Whole Earth Smooth Peanut Butter. I initially tried it because it is one of the very few peanut butters on the market that is free of added sugar (I follow a low refined sugar diet for medical reasons). It is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
I have to confess that in terms of flavour, I have no experience to compare it against. For the best part of three decades I've been determinedly against peanut butter, believing, erroneously as it turns out, that I didn't like it. Ha!
I have used it in peanut butter and chocolate brownies (remember to sweeten the peanut butter with a little maple syrup, otherwise it can be a bit cloying); nutty African-style soups; spread on bread with a spot of diabetic marmalade... But my favourite way to eat it is a dollop alongside a sliced up sweet apple - dunk the apple slices in the peanut butter and nom! Delicious, nutritious and healthy as a snack or breakfast.
The peanut butter comes in both a small and large size - in glass jars (easily recyclable or reusable - yay!), with a plastic lid. Whole Earth are an 'organic' brand and the label design emphasises this - making use of muted greens and browns, with the name of the product against a background of stylised farm land. It certainly looks the part. Labels on the packaging also confirm that not only is Whole Earth a carbon neutral company, they use sustainable sources of palm oil (hurrah for happy orang-utans!). But even though it has a 'health food' vibe, it is easily available in supermarkets as well as more specialist shops. The first time I bought it I picked it up in a Tesco Metro - this is a huge plus point. It is often really difficult to find 'no added sugar' products of all descriptions in most high street supermarkets.
In terms of price, I can't remember what I paid, but I suspect it is a little more expensive than other peanut butters on the market. But personally, I'm prepared to pay a little more bit more for a healthier and more ecologically-aware product.
Last, but not least, it has a long shelf life - my current jar has a use by date of nine months hence...it won't last that long though! But don't keep it in the fridge - it'll go rock solid!
=== The product ===
This is a peanut butter with a difference. It is made using peanuts that have not been salted or treated and still have their skins on them. This contains no added sugar and is suitable for vegetarians & vegans. The palm oil in this product is ethically sourced and the glass jar is recyclable. Whole Earth appear to be a company who really care about the environment.
=== How to use it ===
This is perfect for spreading on hot toast, enjoying in a sandwich, eating with chocolate biscuits or even just spooning straight from the jar. I have also used this to make peanut butter cookies which were successful but you really could taste the lack of sweetness compared to using a basic or value peanut butter that is loaded with sugar.
=== The taste ===
This peanut butter certainly is different from most. The peanut butter looks different in appearance and I can notice the dark flecks which come from the peanut skins. The texture of this peanut butter is deliciously smooth, it has a very strong nutty taste and I really can tell that the skins have been left on these peanuts. There is a fairly raw taste to this spread which is unlike the sugary goodness that comes from other peanut butter spreads but it's a taste that I quite enjoy. The texture is smooth and even a light spread feels quite substantial and you still get that cloying kind of goodness that comes from other peanut butters. The addition of the palm oil means that there is a smooth silky kind of taste to this peanut butter that makes it ridiculously easy to enjoy straight from the jar.
Roasted peanuts (97%), Palm oil, Sea salt
=== Nutritional Information ===
=== Where to buy it and how much? ===
This is available in most Sainsburys stores with a 454g jar costing around £2.92 at present. There is also a crunchy variety available for £2.59. This is also sold in Asda with a 340g jar costing £2.17 which works at ever so slightly cheaper per 100g but for a couple of pence Sainsburys is more convenient for me.
=== My opinion ===
While this is more expensive than other peanut butters on the market the proof really is in the eating. I like knowing that this doesn't contain added sugar and that the palm oil is from a sustainable source. The taste of this is fantastic, it is different to the likes of Sunpat and this is clear from the first taste. The jar has a strong nutty scent as soon as it's open and you can't really smell that sweetness, or taste it. I thoroughly enjoy this on toast in particular and on cream crackers as well. I have used this in cooking a couple of times now and been very pleased with most of the results although my cookies were lacking a little much needed sweetness.
I love knowing that this product is organic and that it's much more ethical than a standard peanut butter. I find that I am left feeling fuller for longer when using this and I often have two pieces of granary toast for breakfast with a small spread of this. I find that I don't need as much of this spread to get the full flavour and to really enjoy my breakfast. This is definitely a high quality product and it's fair to say that it has changed my opinion on peanut butter. I must prefer this product to one that tastes ridiculously sweet and sugary. I feel now like I can really enjoy my toast and cereal for breakfast and not worry about having so much sugar in my diet.
I first tried this after it was suggested to me by a friend who attends the gym regularly and I'm really pleased that I've found this product. It IS more expensive but the jar is recyclable and the ingredients are organic. I like to try and do what I can for the environment these days and to look after our waistlines so I really don't mind paying a little extra for a quality peanut butter. My husband has never really been a fan of peanut butter but even he has been tempted in to nicking the odd piece of toast from my plate these days which is always a positive sign!
Whole Earth smooth peanut butter with no added sugar is quite different from any other peanut butter I've ever tasted, and to me that's a good thing as I'm not really a fan of eating peanut butter as is normally, I find it too sweet and very cloying. This is also organic which again suits me well as I do prefer to buy organic when I can.
Who is Whole Earth?
Whole Earth is the company who make this product, it was one of the very first companies pioneering organic food, and was begun in the 1960's by two brothers. This particular product was one of the very first that they produced along with real fruit spreads (also with no added sugar), and now they make quite a wide range of products from cereals to baked beans, coffee and ketchup all organic and high quality.
Like most peanut butters this comes in a glass jar with a paper label and a screw top lid. The label gives the details of brand and product including some nutritional information. It also explains that this is the smooth version, and contains no added sugar.
Price and Buying
Unfortunately one of the biggest drawbacks with this product is it's price and the fact that it's not easy to find on the high street. When I buy this, I get it from a whole food shop called 'daily bread', but it's not local so I have to either go out of my way to go there, or try and combine it with other things in the same direction. Apparently some Holland & Barrett stores sell this and if you can get it there it's a little cheaper (so my friend says), but mine doesn't sell this variety. I pay £2.25 for a 350g jar. They do also do a 2.5kg pack for £14.12, but there's no way I'd get through that amount before it went off I think so I stick with the small jars.
As this is the area where this product claims it differs from many other peanut butters available, I thought it might be useful to see the details here although this is not something I would normally include in a review.
The ingredients are 96% roasted peanuts, palm oil and sea salt, and per 100g it contains 595kcals, 24.6g of protein, 9.9g of carbs (of which 3.7g sugars), 50.8g fat (of which 9.1 saturates), 7.1g of fibre, and 0.4g of sodium.
If you compare this to the peanut butter you have in your cupboard you might expect there to be a substantial difference, but in fact there are only small differences to bigger brands such as Sunpat. Do the comparison against a no-name or value type brand and you do see a difference as these tend to contain less peanuts and added sugar meaning that they're often higher in sugars, fats, and sometimes sodium (salt), and lower in protein.
Taste & Texture
I suppose this is really the important bit, as it's no good having a healthy product if it doesn't taste good. To me, this is far superior to any other peanut butter I've tried as it's nothing like as sweet. It tastes almost exactly like peanuts do - very nutty and quite savoury, and being smooth I can spread it very thinly too which I prefer because I can enjoy the flavour this way without experiencing that cloying mouth stuck together feeling I always get with other peanut butters.
I don't actually like other peanut butters, and until I tried this one I'd have said I didn't like it full stop, however this I do like - in moderation. My husband doesn't actually like this any more than any other, in fact he says it's a bit thicker than some and doesn't go well with sweet things like jam, so he prefers to stick with his normal (cheaper) non organic, with added sugar crunchy stuff.
One place where I think this product does make a real difference is in making Satay sauce. Satay shouldn't be sweet, it should be peanutty and delicious and if I make it with this I can achieve a really good dish that tastes properly how it should. In baking however, I don't think it does notice whether you've used this or a cheaper product that contains sugar as most baking involves adding sweetness in one form or another anyway.
One thing I have noticed with this is because I tend to keep a jar for quite a while and use it fairly sparingly, when I do return to the jar after a gap, it does seem to separate a bit more than most other peanut butters so if you've got a dip in the butter, then you do tend to get a bit of an oil pool forming there. Having said this, a quick mix with a small spoon and the stuff looks and tastes as it should again.
I shall continue to buy this for my own use and for making satay with, partly because of its organic nature, but partly because I like the taste. I shall also continue to buy alternatives for my husband who prefers them to this, so overall in this household we have mixed opinions of this product. It is expensive, and not always so easy to get hold of as other brands, but perhaps being a tad healthier helps balance that out. I would say give it a try if you can afford to, and decide for yourself as the differences are subtle.