Letter Re: Storing Peanut Butter

Thanks for the extensive resource that is your web site. I am fairly new to prepping but was raised in the deep south so I have a lot of related experience. One thing I’ve noticed in most lists regarding food storage, is the bulk of the food is grains, rice and beans. I completely understand the importance of these 3, but also think another option is often overlooked – Peanut Butter.
First of all, I’m biased, since I love the stuff (Store what you eat!). We eat the reduced fat variety, and in a 40 ounce jar (typical large jar in a grocery store) there is 6,100 Calories. Of course full fat varieties would have more (about 7,000 Calories). Beans, in the same container, would contain 1,200 – 2,000 Calories, depending on the variety. That makes peanut butter a very calorie dense food. (Of course we already knew that because of the fat content and no air voids). It doesn’t require hours and hours of prep time as beans do, and a jar can easily be thrown in your BOB (Don’t forget a long handled spoon in that bag!). The reduced fat variety that I buy has a stamped shelf life of a little over two years. I would not recommend storing 120 jars of peanut butter for your year’s food supply, but it is definitely a supplement to the tired old beans and rice.- H. Hunter

JWR Replies: First, as I’m sure the subject is likely to arise, I should mention that the recent scare in the US about contaminated peanut butter was an isolated incident. But it is frightening to think how many products that peanut paste ended up in, so quickly. We truly do live in an age of advanced transportation and very long chains of supply!

Peanut butter is indeed a good item to keep on hand as a storage food (except of course for any one with a peanut allergy). As with any other storage food, it is important to consistently employ FIFO stocking, to rotate your supply . Mark the purchase date with a Sharpie pen on the lid of each jar when purchased, and store it in the proverbial “cool, dark place.”

One other important proviso involves digestion. A diet that is heavy on peanut butter or meat is likely to induce constipation. So you’ll of course need to store other foods to maintain bowel regularity. Storing a bulk laxative (such as Metamucil) in case your system gets out of balance would be wise. And this, by the way, is yet another reason that every family should get experience with sprouting, and stock up on sprouting seed.

There are few sources of protein that are more compact for use a G.O.O.D. bag than peanut butter. Another–like the aforementioned sprouting seed–that I recommend is blue-green algae tablets. If you could get your digestive system accustomed to a modified diet, it is conceivable that someone could carry a one month emergency supply of food in a 40 pound backpack, if they concentrated on those three foods.