To put into perspective, the average number of peanuts that you use to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter is 540 pieces. Peanut butter is widely used as a spread for most bread and biscuits. To make it, use raw peanuts and process them using peanut butter making machines.
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Peanut butter production and relevance of peanut butter making machines
Most peanut butter is made from ground peanuts. They undergo several peanut butter processing machines before turning into peanut butter. After shelling, cleaning and processing the peanuts, they undergo roasting in a hot air roaster at 240 °C (464 °F). This equipment helps them roast evenly at a high temperature. Next, they cool down to room temperature; this is to prevent them from losing too much oil. After blanching them using water or spin blanching, you ground them to a paste inside a grinding machine.
In this stage, you can gradually add additives such as sugar, salt, and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Cool the peanut butter from 60 °C to 38 °C (140 °F to 100.4 °F) Then, you can insert the product into jars. Compared to other spreads, peanut butter usually does not contain any artificial coloring and sweeteners. You can store it at room temperature, and will not spoil easily.
Stabilizers used in peanut butter products
Producers use stabilizers or emulsifiers to create a stable and firm texture on peanut butter. The common stabilizers are hydrogenated oils (like canola and cottonseed oils), lecithin, and other mono- and diglycerides. These stabilizers ensure that the natural oils formed upon the grinding process coexist along with the peanut paste, creating a consistent and spreadable peanut butter. In small scale peanut butter production—natural, it’s possible to make stabilizer-free peanut butter. This is due to health risks that stabilizers, which are trans-fat, impose. The only key factor is shelf-life; natural peanut butter is not meant to last longer than commercial peanut butter due to stability.
Standards for a great peanut butter
Overall, good peanut butter must have a natural, light-brown color. For stabilized peanut butter, it must have no noticeable oil separation and has a good amount of moisture from natural oils when you mix them. Good peanut butter also spreads easily, with very little effort; it must show slight stiffness when mixed and has a firm consistency. For non-stabilized peanut butter, there should be no more than slight mixing required to disperse any natural oils. Whether you stabilize it or not, a quality peanut butter must have a good flavor and aroma.
FDA regulations and more standards for peanut butter
The FDA has regulations for high-quality peanut butter in the US. The fat content of peanut butter must not exceed 55% and no less than 90% peanut content. Stabilizing ingredients and seasonings must not also exceed 10% of the total weight. In addition, oil products that you add as stabilizers shall only be hydrogenated vegetable oils or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Also, regulations allow an average of one or more rodent hairs and 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter. However, EU regulations are more proactive when it comes to prohibited additives, such as stabilizers. Some countries in Europe will strictly ban those products which contain the additive.