The first time I moved away from home, I raged against the machine.
That machine was my mom and her being the choosy mom who chose Jif peanut butter. For the better part of 20 years, I had Jif and that was all I had. I didn’t even know what Skippy or Peter Pan tasted like. I still don’t know what Peter Pan tastes like, because who eats that stuff, seriously? My rage, in combination with moving out, took me to Skippy and that has been my peanut butter of choice the past 11 or 12 years.
For the most part, peanut butter is peanut butter. Crunchy or creamy, maybe you get the option for honey as well. Then there is natural vs…. unnatural? I don’t know what to call the standard stuff, but it’s the stuff that doesn’t have “natural” on the label. I’m not even going to get into the weird stuff with the oil on top of it.
The past few years there have been fancier flavors introduced (peanut butter/chocolate mixes, whipped peanut butter, etc.) but I’ve stuck to my natural creamy Skippy Peanut butter and haven’t stepped away from it for as long as I can remember. I’m not even sure that I like Skippy better, but once I changed, I became my own machine and never gave any other peanut butter much of a thought.
Recently, Skippy released a salted caramel variant of their standard creamy peanut butter and I couldn’t wait to try it because it is both my peanut butter of choice AND my favorite flavor additive trend, salted caramel.
As soon as I brought this limited edition home, I stuck my finger in and scooped some out for my first try. I was confused as to what the think. My brain was telling me that I loved it it, because how could I not, these are 2 of my favorite things combined. My tongue was saying “WTF IS THAT FLAVOR?”
Eventually, after trying some on toast and a few more fingers full, my brain and tongue started to agree with each other. This stuff is bad. Really, really bad.
I never had a great idea of how to ruin peanut butter (my favoritist thing of all things), but Skippy mastered the art of ruining it with this variant. They should really call this “Salt butter with peanut flavor and maybe, if you close your eyes and imagine real hard, caramel aftertaste” but I guess that doesn’t slide off the tongue all that easily.
Skippy’s salted caramel is (VERY) heavy on the salt. So heavy that I am honestly curious as to whether or not I get a bad jar of it, but I disliked it so much I don’t plan to try another jar and find out. I think there is a group of people who would love this because it should cure that craving for something salty, but I’m one of those people that thinks there can be too much salt.
Roughly a week later, I saw that Jif made a salted caramel variant in their “Whips” lineup, which I had never had. I decided to give it a shot, despite not having Jif in over a decade.
Man, am I glad I did.
First off, my wife pointed out that I was basically paying for a company to put air into my peanut butter (if you look at the serving size of regular peanut butter vs. whips, there are less grams), but that didn’t matter because I had to try it.
I did the same thing that I did with the Skippy, I opened up the container and stuck my finger in. First thing I noticed was how light and airy Jif Whips are. The texture is that of whipped butter (go figure) and I think that works surprisingly well for peanut butter. It’s easy to spread and the lighter texture is great with some pretzels or on some toast.
After falling in love with the texture, the flavor was the next thing that had me smitten. I felt I could much more clearly taste all the elements that should comprise a salted caramel flavored peanut butter. The peanut butter flavor was loud and clear and had a slight hint of salt with a really nice caramel aftertaste. Jif has me hooked and I’m not sure I’ll be going back.
Clearly, this fight to the death has been won by Jif. I both love the texture and flavor of the Whips, while I hated the flavor of Skippy’s (the texture was fine). This might have me going back to Jif for my “normal” peanut butter needs, but I might not be going back to normal as long as they keep making this salted caramel sweetness.