This is an updated article on Peanut Butter for Survival. Our first article was several years ago, and we will continue to update this article as the ways we use peanut butter for food storage evolve and as new products are released.
Peanut butter may have been patented in Canada first, but it is an American staple. Peanut butter has a long shelf life, a storied history, and is full of nutrients great for survival. As an added bonus, it tastes pretty darn good too. Peanut butter is part of my long-term food storage plan, and you should consider adding it to yours if you haven’t already.
Contents (Jump to a Section)
Types of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is easy to get a hold of in various sizes and even various types. If you are looking to store in your pantry, you can go grab a jar of JIF at your local supermarket or get a powder mix from a survival food supplier.
If you need it on the go, there are bars available and pouches to store in your bug out bag. My first experience with peanut butter pouches was with MREs, and it’s one of the better finds you can get for food on the go.
A Quick History of Peanut Butter
I was taught in school that George Washington Carver invented peanut butter. That’s not necessarily true, since history shows that the Aztecs may have been the first to use peanut butter as a toothache remedy: The History of Peanut Butter. Carver did write a book in 1916 that sounds like a chore to read: “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it For Human Consumption.”
This book was not the first introduction to peanut butter by a long shot, since Dr. Ambrose Straub patented a peanut butter-making machine in 1903, 13 years before George Washington Carver’s book. Peanut butter was sold as a snack food and as a health rehab food since it could be eaten without chewing early on. The crunchy versus smooth debate started early on, with crunchy peanut butter first made by Skippy in 1932.
Why Peanut Butter is a Survival Food
Filling your pantry with jars of peanut butter might not be the best idea, but having it available in your stockpile is pretty smart. Most people already buy peanut butter at the grocery store, so this makes an easy food to ‘back stock’ in your pantry. Just buy a few more than usual on your next trip, and rotate your stock as you go through the jars.
Peanut butter isn’t just easy to store and stockpile, it’s also packed full of protein and other nutrients. Calories and protein are always top of mind for survival situations, and peanut butter is an excellent off-the-shelf solution.
What is in Peanut Butter?
Peanuts, of course. Seriously though, peanut butter is chock full of ‘survival must-haves’ for your body including protein, fat, and calories. Two tablespoons of peanut butter (32 grams) will typically contain 188 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 6 grams of carbohydrates. It also contains the following nutrients:
- Dietary Fiber
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin E
Most of the fat content in peanut butter is monounsaturated fat, which is much better for your heart. Natural and Organic peanut butter usually contains less sugar and sodium, but be sure to check the label anyways if that is a concern.
Peanut Butter Shelf Life
The shelf life of store-bought peanut butter depends on the type (natural or processed) and storage conditions, but generally, it can last from 6 to 12 months if unopened and stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, it can last up to 3 months if stored properly.
It is always important to check for any signs of spoilage, such as a rancid odor or mold before you eat it.
Powdered peanut butter, on the other hand, can last up to 15 years when stored properly. It’s relatively inexpensive for a #10 can, and you can just add water to reconstitute it: Augason Farms Peanut Butter Powder.
Peanut butter protein bars have a shelf life of up to 2 years since it lets you mix in more ingredients that can help preserve the peanut butter. They are also packed with nutrition: Nutrient Survival Peanut Butter Bar-Meals.
Can You Survive on Peanut Butter Alone?
No, there are two problems with trying to survive on peanut butter by itself:
- Nutritional Content: Peanut butter has an excellent makeup of protein, fat, and carbs- but it can be high in salt and sugar. Even if you opt for low-sodium and sugar-free options, you will run into issues with vitamin and mineral deficiencies over the long run. Depending on your starting health, you could possibly survive a few months to a year on peanut butter alone.
- Shelf Life: As we mentioned above, shelf-life is not indefinite so you cannot theoretically just stash a bunch of peanut butter for survival purposes. If you just want to go on a peanut butter diet regardless of food storage, then shelf life does not matter as much.
Because of these reasons, you always want a diverse diet that meets basic nutritional requirements.
How to Make a Peanut Butter Survival Bar
If you are looking for something on the go, a bar high in calorie content in protein is always a good choice. Here is an easy high-calorie survival bar with peanut butter as the main ingredient.
They are pretty tasty (as opposed to survival bread) and can provide enough calories to get you through the day.
The Final Word
Keeping food with long shelf lives and good nutrients back stocked in your pantry is easy and makes sense. Food with high protein and calories by weight makes for a good survival food option on the go. Peanut butter fits both of these roles and is easy to eat without utensils. The point is to keep a good variety of foods and nutrients in your food storage plans.
Here are some other quick reads our subscribers have found helpful:
- Sunflower Seeds as Survival Food | Protein-Packed Flowers
- The Best Food to Dehydrate for Long Term Survival Storage
- Survival Food List | Pantry Stockpile Plan and Checklist
Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
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