Ingredient Number one:

PEANUTS

ResizedImage308419 peanut plant2

Ingredient Number Two:

Sea Salt

Salt is very cheap – much cheaper than peanuts – so it would make good financial sense to squeeze as much salt into the peanut butter as we could. Unfortunately though, if it was too salty, you couldn’t eat it, and if you couldn’t eat it you’d never run out and if you never ran out you would never need to buy any more.

Deciding just how much salt to add was, therefore, no easy task. We came to the magic amount by adding less and less until there was just enough to bring out the flavour of the nuts when you eat it out of the jar. Personally, when I spread it on my toast, (yes this is Pic writing), I prefer it a bit saltier, and I sprinkle a little extra on top. I have had customers recoil in horror when I suggest this, but hey, why should I be the one who decides how much salt you eat huh?

My mates, who happen to be TV chefs, use salt all the time in their cooking, but they always make sure the salt and pepper are there on your table don’t they? So why all the fuss? It’s just something I thought was interesting, that’s all.

I met a woman during tastings at Moore Wilson who had thrown out a jar of our peanut butter and declared that she’d never buy it again. She was near the end of her second jar, spread some on a sandwich and almost threw up with a mouthful of salt.

It wasn’t the first time we had had a complaint about patches of excess salt, and initially, I thought we had a problem with our grinder getting an unseen buildup of salt that made its way unnoticed into a jar. I thought it a reasonable explanation, but it didn’t account for the salt patches always appearing in the bottom of the jars.

It seemed most unlikely that the salt was sinking to the bottom, but we took a close look at the oil on top of a jar that had been sitting around for a while and was starting to separate. We drained the oil off, and put it in a jar with a teaspoon of salt and shook it. Nothing happened. Salt, it appears, doesn’t dissolve in oil – so when the oil in your peanut butter rises to the top, the salt heads for the bottom. It’s physics, and the only way you or I can do anything about it is to give our peanut butter a good stir every now and then or to buy unsalted peanut butter and sprinkle salt on your peanut butter after spreading it on your toast.

The salt we use comes from the Dominion Salt Company. We buy their pure dried salt and add just a little to our peanut butter. Now if you are so healthily inclined as to avoid salt completely, or have a particular fancy of the pink Himalayan variety – you can indulge it to your heart’s content by buying Pic’s Really Good Unsalted Peanut Butter and sprinkling it with the condiment of your choice (or none at all).