How Peanut Butter is Made

Sources: Life Made Keto & Skinny Taste

Growing up as a kid, a lot of us had experienced indulging in spreads like chocolate, cheese, mayonnaise, and peanut butter – the common ones. We would swipe a considerable amount of spread on loaves of bread and still end up dissatisfied that we would pig out for some more. Has it ever crossed your mind that from peanut butter, a lucrative, income-generating business can sprout? This article is for you! But before getting into that, you must first become familiar with how peanut butter is made.

A Little Bit of History

Peanut butter is a food paste that originated from wild peanuts. These were found in Bolivia and Argentina, the northeastern sector. Indians cultivated them during pre-Columbian times. The plant that produces peanuts is compared to a vine, its flower stalks bend and crawl to the ground as it reaches maturity. From Africa, peanuts were brought to the United States of America and was later on deemed a staple crop in the 1890s.

Before the seventeenth century concluded, peanut butter was made through the use of wooden mortar and a wooden pestle that contained a steel cap. The heavy pair was used to beat and pound the peanuts until it turned into a paste. In the nineteenth century, roasted peanuts in their shells were placed inside a cloth bag then struck and ground into a rich paste and eaten freshly.

The manufacturing process from ancient times was entirely manual. Through research and technological advancements, men discovered more convenient ways to execute the procedure. Today, peanut butter, along with other spreads and processed foods undergo milling and mixing using vacuum emulsifier homogenizers that mechanically work with ease and high efficiency in large factories.

The Raw Ingredients

The main composition is peanuts, of course, which is abundant in protein, vitamin B, iron, fat, and phosphorus. After circumspect selection, dry-roasted and blanched peanuts are crushed to a size that can flow through a 200-mesh giant sieve. Other ingredients that contribute to the improvement of smoothness and spreadability are the following: salt, dextrose, vegetable oil, and honey or corn syrup.

Ascorbic acid and yeast are also added in order to enhance the nutritional value of the peanut butter. Peanut butter holds fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and moisture.

The Manufacturing Process

Source: Life Made Sweeter

Planting and Harvesting

Planted in April or May, peanuts are harvested sometime in September. The plants germinate yellow flowers. As the plant matures, it grows peanuts underground. Portable and mechanical pickers harvest the peanuts by removing them from the vines. After that, mechanical drying will take place once the peanuts have already been transported to the peanut sheller.

Cleaning ensues inside the warehouses. Blower air strikes out sand, soil, dust, stems, leaves, and vines, including the shells which are empty. Meanwhile, magnets, screens, and size graders eliminate heavier materials like small rocks, trash, metal, and clods. The cleaned peanuts are placed in storage.

Shelling and Processing

Hulls of peanuts are removed next. Seeds and kernels should be protected from any damage. The moisture of peanuts with shells gets modified to control the brittleness and lessen the presence of dust in plants. Peanuts are cracked as they pass through rollers that fit their physical characteristics – size, type, condition, variety.

The cracked peanuts continuously go through instruments like metals, blowers, destoners, screens, etc. to remove all the unnecessary elements that come with them such as dust and rocks. Afterward, they are graded for size, color, spots, defects, even for broken skins. Processed peanuts are then distributed in bulks to the manufacturers for peanut butter making.

Dry Roasting

In a heated revolving oven, peanuts are roasted by batch. The temperature applied reaches approximately 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Without oil or anything, the peanuts are exposed to the heat for around 40 to 60 minutes. Uniform toasting should be achieved. Dry roasting can be performed continuously or in a batch method.

Cooling

To prevent peanuts from completely drying out, they undergo the process of cooling after the cooking is done (determined by a photometer). They are transferred into a metal cylinder where perforation can occur. The temperature is reduced to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. And then, the peanuts pass through another separator or screen that would eliminate other existing unwelcomed materials. 

Blanching

This can either be heat or water blanching. Exposed to heat again, the skins crack and get removed. Rubber belts are used for the gentle rubbing operation that helps in accomplishing this process. Porous bags will then hold the peanuts and the heart, which has a bitter taste is separated from each of them.

In water blanching, the kernels are arranged in troughs. Sharp stationary blades rip the skins of the peanuts. Then, the kernels go through a water bath where swinging pads slit their skins off them. Lastly, the blanched kernels are dried for six hours.

Grinding

Constant pressure in grinding determines the good qualities of the peanut butter formulation. Aeration needs to be prevented from occurring and uniform grinding must be made. The first part focuses on reducing the size of the peanuts. The latter part concentrates on refining the crushed nuts to form the smooth and stabilized texture of the paste. Industrial mixers like high-pressure homogenizers or high shear mixers assist in producing the optimum results.

Packaging

Finally, after everything is done, the peanut butter is mechanically stored in jars. Caps and labels are added after. Vacuum packing is effective in diminishing oxidation in peanut butter. They are all packed into its final containers and shipped to distributors and merchandisers.

Conclusion

As the consumption and demand increase, the manufacturing industry is progressing too. Hobbyists and business-minded people should consider digging the precious gems founded in the peanut butter making business. You can start small, and eventually go big! Consistency is the key. Peanut butter has always been flavorful and people are always craving for this delicious spread. Why don’t you try your luck?