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Palm oil is crap. It shouldn't be, but it is. It's become one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in our western supermarkets, shoved in everything from bread to shampoo, due to its stability and manifold applications. This sounds great, but since enormous areas of Indonesian rain forest is being slashed and burned to create palm plantations with the sad and inevitable consequences that come with it. Finding everyday products that don't include ingredients sourced from such grim activity can be a bit of a problem, partially due to their scarcity but also because they are generally more expensive, but when it comes to peanut butter, this is a winner on all fronts. I picked up a kilogram bucket of this peanut butter from Holland and Barrett the other day for just over £5. Meridian pride themselves here on not only creating their product without the use of(and almost certainly real) bogeyman of our diets - sugar. Weight for weight, this is the best value peanut butter that I can find at the moment. So how does it taste? It's a little bit different from the usual varieties, as its only ingredients are peanuts and the oil derived from them. It's quite claggy and rich, so not much is needed on a slice of toast to make it go far, and added to curry I find it makes a brilliant satay style sauce. A kilogram is quite a lot though, and it does say to eat it within 3 months of opening, but I doubt it will go off before the use by date (not much ever does, I regularly ignore the little numbers and follow my nose with no bouts of e-coli...yet). Stupidly, I managed to spill peanut oil all over the place on first opening the pot, as the oil separates quite readily. It does say this in clear writing on the lid, so it's my own fault. Giving the contents a quick stir quickly blends the two parts back together. I love this stuff. It smells, feels and tastes different from the overly processed stuff that clogs up the supermarket shelves. The lack of sugar is a welcome change - I don't really have a sweet tooth at all, so it's nice to find something that doesn't have those empty calories. It's high in protein, so is quite filling and makes for a good post-workout snack to boot. The only hesitation I have about giving a totally glowing review is I don't know what the price would be if not on offer. Holland and Barrett aren't exactly noted for their low prices, so whether it will be possible to buy this stuff regularly on our budget is hard to say. For the time being though, I'm going to have another orangutan-friendly bagel. Currently available from H&B's website for £5.99 per 1000g, or in their high street stores. If you like peanut butter, I recommend getting some of this stuff now. PS Needless to say, this isn't going to be suitable for those with peanut allergies, although that might be about to change given the recent good news that such things might be curable.
As a fitness fanatic, I like to eat foods that will aid my workouts, my weightloss and most importantly, my health. As a peanut butter fanatic however, all I want is delicious peanut buttery goodness. When I began my weightloss journey I took some time out to do some research on my favourite foods and how to include them in my diet and lifestyle without feeling deprived. I quickly learned that the peanut butters I had previously indulged in were full of sugar, salt, oil and various other additives I'm not even familiar with. It was doing my body very little good so I gave up on peanut butter for a while (especially seeing as once I start eating peanut butter, it's virtually impossible for me to stop). I discovered this brand when I was in my local Holland and Barrett store and was immediately drawn in by the label claiming how natural it was. At nearly £3.00 for a 280g jar I was hesitant to try it and yet it somehow found its way into my basket and my food cupboard. Upon opening the jar I was a little surprised at how dark the butter was, and not only that but the thick layer of oil that sat at the top. I dipped my finger in and tried it. All I tasted was the oil and the rawness of the peanuts. Though disappointed I persued and by half way down the jar I was hooked. Firstly, don't make the mistake I did - the lid clearly states to give the butter a good stir as the oil is just the natural oils from the ground peanuts that have settled at the top. Once you stir it thoroughly, you're left with a thick, crunchy spread to utilise. Admittedly it took some getting used to, my tastebuds were used to such artificial peanut butter that I wasn't quite sure but I'm so glad I continued with it. The following list are the ingredients for the Natural Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter: Peanuts Whole Skin On (100%). That's it! One ingredient - peanut butter as it should be. Below are is the nurtritional information per 100g: Energy (kcal) 579 Protein 29.6g Carbohydrates 11.6g Of which sugars 5.9g Fat 46g Of which Saturates 8.2g Fibre 8.5g Sodium TRACE Please be aware that the fat content may seem high but is a mono unsaturated fat - which is a heart healthy fat your body requires to function at its best, not like the fat you get in a chocolate bar or bag of crisps. The only downside to this product, besides the price is how addictive it is. Once the jar is open, all my self control is out of the window; this stuff is just too tasty and I will continue to enjoy to enjoy it straight from the spoon.
I bought this peanut butter because I really like peanut butter and wanted something healthier and more natural. Meridian natural peanut butter is available in health food shops like Holland and Barrett and local health food shops. It is also available on the internet. It comes in two sizes, 280 grams and 1 kilogram. The 280g size comes in a glass jar with a metal lid. The 1kg one comes in a big, plastic tub. I buy the 1kg version because I think it's great value for money. Firstly, you save money buying the big 1kg tub instead of the smaller jars. The big 1kg tub costs between £4.50 and £5.50 and the 280g jar costs around £2. It's available in smooth and crunchy, I have always preferred crunchy peanut butter so I buy that one. I usually really don't like smooth peanut butter but I love the Meridian one, just not as much as crunchy. The crunchy and smooth versions ingredients are the same, just 100% peanuts and nothing else! The peanuts are lightly roasted with their skins on. It doesn't taste like you're eating a mouthful of peanuts though, it's different because when they ground the peanuts down, the natural oils in the peanuts are released to make the spreadable peanut butter texture. When you first open the jar or tub, there will be some oil at the top which you just stir back in before using it. It doesn't taste greasy or oily though, not at all. It's also GMO free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. At first, I wasn't sure that I would like this as much as I like regular peanut butters with sugar, salt, preservatives, palm oil etc. like the ones from the supermarkets. I used to eat the supermarket own brands and Sunpat. Meridian peanut butter looks different, it's brown not orange like a lot of peanut butters and the texture isn't as solid and thick. It's easy to spread but sometimes in the big plastic tub, when you get towards the bottom, there is less oil so it's a lot more solid but this isn't much of a problem. I really like the taste of this, if you're used to using the salty, sugary and unnatural peanut butters then it might be a bit weird when you first taste this. I have sometimes went back to the regular peanut butters for a while and then back to Meridian and I always wonder why I didn't just carry on buying Meridian. After eating the Meridian peanut butter for a while, eating other peanut butters just feels like I'm crunching up a mouthful of sugar- horrible! I do quite like salty tastes though, if you do too then you can always add a little bit of salt, this contains no salt or sugar, it's just peanuts so at least you would know exactly what you're eating if you chose to add your own salt. I have heard of people doing this and I think it's a good idea if you do like saltiness in your peanut butter, a bit of salt in this would still make it so much healthier than many of the other peanut butters. Because this is made from 100% peanuts and nothing else, it's great for using in recipes like cookies without adding any extra sugar to the recipe. It's also good for savoury recipes since it doesn't have any sugar or sweeteners. This is a very versatile product but my favourite way to eat it is on toast. I would definitely recommend this, it's natural and yes it's a bit pricier than the cheap peanut butters but I think it's worth it, especially if you buy the big tub which lasts a while and is good value for money.
Crunchy texture with a small amount of sea salt Contains naturally occurring sugar Delicious as a spread or use as a cooking ingredient Gmo free Suitable for vegans