The Easiest Way To Salvage Dried-Out Peanut Butter

Is there ever such a thing as too much peanut butter? We certainly don't think so. PB lovers young and old chow down on a wide variety of peanut butter snacks, from crunchy filled pretzel bites to slathered sandwich crackers. According to the National Peanut Board (yes, it's real), 94% of U.S. households have at least one jar of peanut butter in their pantry as we speak. But, it's not just the U.S. getting in on the PB kraze — Haitian peanut butter, aka mamba, is an internationally renowned delicacy of peanut butter fame.

Now that Jif's recent mass peanut butter recall is finally dwindling down, consumers can safely (and eagerly) return to their favorite thick, creamy spread worry-free. Although, PB enthusiasts might still have one worry. Have you ever cracked open a months-old jar from the back of your pantry to find your peanut butter dried out? Rest assured, it probably hasn't gone bad. Peanut butter's low moisture content and high oil levels act as powerful natural preservatives, per Live Science. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, that jar of PB will keep in the pantry for up to nine months unopened, or three months after opening.

As for peanut butter that's dried out, luckily, there's a simple explanation for why it happens — and an even simpler way to fix it.

Stir in some oil

The easiest way to salvage dried-out peanut butter is to stir some oil into the mix. Epicurious recommends using a neutral oil like canola or peanut oil that won't introduce any new flavors to your spread. Just add a few drops and stir — or, for a larger batch, a food processor might make the job easier, notes the outlet. The reason behind the method is totally science-based and GMO-free.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration requires that 90% of peanut butter must be made up of peanuts. The remaining 10%, however, is more or less up for grabs. Typically, it consists of a mixture of oils and seasonings for flavor, per Insider. In a piece for the National Peanut Board, nutritionist Caroline Young Bearden, who's also a registered dietician, says oil content accounts for 1-2% of peanut butter's total weight. In fact, vegetable oil is one of the main listed ingredients in popular brands like Peter Pan and Skippy.

Since oil and water don't mix, and peanut butter has a high oil content, there isn't much room in the mixture left over for water, explains Live Science. This can lead to naturally dry peanut butter, drying out more quickly due to its limited water content. The process of oil and water naturally separating is called "syneresis," per Real Simple, and it's totally harmless — although, it can get super annoying. If you find the moisture evaporated away from your peanut butter, just add some more back in.