I really, really hope not.
Let’s take a moment here. Imagine peeling back the cover of a brand-spanking-new jar of peanut butter. The tip of your knife, spoon or (let’s be honest – finger) hovers above the smooth plane of the butter for a few seconds but then a waft of peanut-y goodness reaches your nose and you can’t restrain yourself any longer. You break the surface and wield a glorious, creamy glob ready to be mixed, spread or licked.
Sorry to get 50 Shades of Peanut Butter on you. Here’s a photo for the “visual-learner” folks out there.
This is what peanut butter is and should be. Not this.
I stumbled upon PB2 in the dry goods/baking aisle while shopping to replenish my dorm stock. PB2 is, simply put, powdered peanut butter. It has “the same consistency as peanut butter with all of the natural roasted peanut flavor, but with nearly 85% less fat calories”, or so claims Bell Plantation, the producer of this powdery impostor.
In theory, PB2 is wonderful: peanut butter without all the negative connotations of the word ‘butter’, and there are no additives. Just add 1 tablespoon of water for every 2 tablespoons of PB2 powder, mix for even consistency, and enjoy. Or if you’re like me, furrow your eyebrows in disapproval. While it certainly looks and feels like the real thing, PB2 simply does not measure up to good ol’ fatty peanut butter. It has a very synthetic taste despite it being just pressed peanuts, and felt chalky on my tongue no matter how much I tampered with the water to PB2 ratio. Also, the powder is extremely loose so one subtle twitch will send the substance wafting through the air to settle on nearby objects.
While I’m not a fan, don’t immediately reject it. Some say it tastes great when mixed in smoothies or oatmeal as a flavor infusion, and 45 calories per serving as opposed to the standard 190 for regular peanut butter might be enough to convince some to make the switch. And at $3.99 per jar, it’s cheaper than some of its traditional neighbors on the shelf.
PB2 can be found at your local Whole Foods, Walmart and Target. As with every opportunity to try a new food, give it a taste. In the meantime, I’ll just keep scooping the regular stuff like it’s a really special day.