By Kristin Cleveland
“I wonder how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life?” my spouse often asks as he smears a thick layer of nutty goodness onto a slice of bread. Considering he has eaten one for nearly every lunch since he had a full set of teeth, and he’s now in his early 50s, I calculate approximately 17,167, though I do know that some of those sandwiches were PB & honey. I think that still counts.
Joe is one of the many people for whom March 1 was designated National Peanut Butter Lovers Day; according to the National Peanut Board, about 94% of American homes contain at least one jar of peanut butter. And it makes sense — whether eaten on toast for breakfast, in a sandwich for lunch, as a savory sauce for dinner, or with celery or apple slices for a snack, peanut butter is not only delicious, it’s also packed with protein, healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, and a variety of minerals, which combine to make it a particularly heart-healthy high energy food.
And here in Saratoga Springs, we have even more reason to celebrate: our very own Saratoga Peanut Butter Company! As a young adult Jessica Arceri, a physical education and nutrition expert and health-conscious parent, began crafting nut butters for her family and friends. In 2005 she started selling her creations at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and in local groceries. Now Saratoga Peanut Butter is in stores throughout New York State and can be ordered online. But with over a dozen flavors, including some seasonal specials, it’s particularly fun to go to the Saratoga Peanut Butter table at the Farmers’ Market and enjoy a sample.
Combining easily with many flavors, peanut butter is a versatile food. On Arceri’s website, yopeanut.com, you’ll find recipes for entrées such as Pad Thai and spicy sauté sauce, sweet treats including three varieties of peanut butter cookie, and a range of breakfast foods like low sugar, high energy granola bars, smoothies, pancakes and oatmeals. Because of Arceri’s focus on fitness, all of her nut butter ingredients are sourced in the USA, she never uses palm oil, refined sugars, or other additives or preservatives, and she uses no or low amounts of sodium.
Stop by the Farmers’ Market on Saturday to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Day. In addition to samples of freshly made local peanut butter, you can pick up regular or gluten-free peanut butter cookies from The Chocolate Spoon, Grandma Apple’s peanut butter cheesecakes and cheesecake pops dipped in Saratoga Chocolate Company’s Velvet chocolate, and recipes and ingredients for more delicious meals and treats!