We all remember our favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich but nut butters have become more sophisticated and refined over the last decade. I was fascinated with the Goobers brand as a child with the strips of peanut butter and jelly running down the jar.
What’s not to love about nut butters? Crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet – they seems like the perfect food to me – and in fact the first blog I ever wrote was on peanut butter. There are multiple choices and options available in various price ranges.
During COVID19, I thought it time to revisit some of the nut butters available online since going to the grocery store is now a project. As one of my savvy clients recently said, “I feel like I have a diaper bag with me at all times with the masks, gloves, wipes, etc.”
So to save yourself the time and energy testing, here’s the highlights of our findings. We looked at taste/texture, aftertaste and packaging (glass versus plastic).
- Almond Butters
Before COVID my favorite almond butter was the fresh ground one at natural grocery stores – the texture, taste was unbeatable and since you were grinding it yourself the freshness was unsurpassable. Since that is not an option here are some other options.
Almondee unsalted – Comes in a plastic container and has a strong almond taste. It needs some sea salt and is adequate but more of a miss than a hit.
Avila and Sons – The top ranking favorite almond butter – crunchy and sweet with just enough salt to create the perfect mouth feel. It comes in a small glass vintage jar. No stirring required.
Georgie Grinders All Natural – Although it comes in a glass jar and beautiful packaging it is not tasty as their peanut butter. However, it does have a good texture.
Simple Truth Smooth and unsalted – Comes in a plastic container and has a pleasant roasted flavor, but lacks the depth of texture of other almond butters.
Vitacost Smooth and unsalted – Comes in a plastic container but the flavor and texture is surprisingly excellent – but sea salt needed.
Woodstock Lightly Roasted unsalted – Since COVID started this one has been my staple. Smooth, creamy taste with a natural feel in your mouth and comes in a glass jar. Need to stir a fair amount to combine oil and nuts.
- Peanut Butter
Avila and Sons – Tastes like your grandmother made it from the peanuts you picked in her backyard and ground them. No stirring needed and comes in a glass jar.
Crazy Richard’s Crunchy – Large peanut chunks with a smooth taste similar to mainstream peanut butter but very fresh. Although it comes in a plastic container, it has minimal processing texture and taste. May need to add salt.
Georgia Grinders – Has a nice consistency between the chunks of peanuts and flavor. It comes in gift system packaging in a glass container and does not taste processed. Pricey but worth the value.
Laura’s Scudder’s Old Fashioned Nutty– Hit and miss on freshness; the most “natural” commercialized peanut butter. It does not have the slick aftertaste of processed peanut butters and comes in a glass jar. Stirring required.
Santa Cruz Lightly roasted crunchy – Comes in a glass jar and quite a bit of stirring is needed but consistent in taste with a good flavor. Occasionally you need to add oil to get through the whole jar as it becomes quite dry towards the end.
Simple Truth Organic Crunchy – Although organic and non-GMO, has a processed, sticky taste. The texture mimics commercialized peanut butters making it a great transition peanut butter if you are trying to wean yourself off commercialized name brands. Easy to stir and comes in a plastic container.
Vita Cost Organic Crunchy and Salted – Good sized peanuts, and a perfect amount of salt and crunch. Very natural tasting and cost effective. It comes in a plastic jar and easy to stir.
- Cashew Butter
Georgia Grinders – A bit sticky and tastes similar to many other cashew butters but needs some salt. Comes in a glass jar and beautiful packaging.
- Pecan Butter –
Georgia Grinders Slow Roasted – Has a strong burnt taste and comes in a glass jar. We were not fans – a disappointment since this was one of the most expensive brands.
Artisana Pecan Butter with Cashews – The combo of the pecans and cashews is an unequal balance – texture is mealy with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Comes in a glass jar.
We also tried pumpkin seed, sunflower and walnut butters. Taste and textures of all we sampled were quite disappointing and not worth mentioning.
Almond Butter – Avila and Sons was the favorite and Woodstock the runner up. If I had to pick a third it would be the Vitacost but would need to add some sea salt.
Peanut Butter – Avila and Sons was the favorite and Vitacost crunchy and salted the runner up. Georgia Grinders was the third choice.
Pecan Butter – Although we love pecans neither one of the brands tested was worth recommending. Might be worth making your own.
Cashew Butter – The one tested was adequate. I’ve made homemade cashew butter in the past which was far superior to the ones on the market.
Take homes – Nut butters in jars tend to have a better taste. Textures are extremely variable and personable. Although we are not a big salt family many unsalted butters need sea salt added. Sometimes prior to opening nut butters it is optimal to store them upside down to make the stirring process easier.
Hopefully our home taste tests opens up your choices. There are links to the products. This is a treat worth having – low in carbs, high in good fats with some protein. Add in 1-2 squares of dark chocolate and you have yourself a low carb dessert. Perhaps one of the best ways to have nut butters is to make them yourself in a food processor with sea salt and oil if needed. The days of Goobers and processed nut butters have come a long way and hopefully the research on pandemic viruses will catch up soon.