How to stir a jar of natural peanut butter
It's peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich season in the Dornfest household, so I've made my requisite back-to-school purchase of several jars of natural peanut butter (the stuff you have to stir -- we try to avoid partially hydrogenated oils). Stirring natural peanut butter takes finesse; if you work it too vigorously, you get an oily mess all over the counter. Here's my technique:
1. With a butter knife, slowly poke several holes into the peanut butter solids to let the oil penetrate.
2. With the tip of a butter knife fixed on the center of the bottom of the jar, slowly begin to rotate the handle of the knife. Picture a witch stirring her cauldron -- that's the motion you're aiming for. Start with small circles toward the center of the jar, and as the oil gets incorporated, gradually move the knife handle in wider and wider circles.
Roger made another suggestion in the comments of Toddler-friendly PB&J: dump the whole concoction into the food processor and blend to emulsify. Any other hints? Favorite brands of natural peanut butter?
Related post: Streamlining PB&J sandwich prep