by Sarah on April 2, 2011 · 5 comments

Happy Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

Yes, yet another food holiday to add to the list.
[And yes, my sister did send me a text saying “Happy PB & J Day!” this morning. Because that’s how awesome we are.]

But really, why not find a reason to celebrate every day?

And if that reason happens to be the staple sandwich of small children’s diets everywhere…
…well, so be it.

We all have our peanut butter and jelly preferences, and making what seems to be a simle sandwich actually involves answering a series of very personal questions of tastes:

  • white or wheat (or cinnamon-raisin?)
  • crusts on or crusts off
  • grape or strawberry
  • chunky or creamy
  • cut into rectangles, squares, or triangles (two…or four?)

And don’t even get me STARTED on peanut butter-to-jelly ratio.*
*written as PB:Jelly in mathematics circles

PB&Js are–as they say on HGTV’s Get It Sold!–very ‘taste-specific’ (in other words, something you think is “the best design decision ever” might be someone else’s cue to run for the hills—or at least the next Open House on the block). For me, the ultimate PB&J is white bread (sorry, it’s the truth), crusts on, creamy peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and cut into two right triangles.^
^Making Pythagoras proud, one peanut butter and jelly at a time.

All these thoughts of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches naturally led me back to childhood, where food nostalgia conjured up the image of this product:


Smucker’s Goober PB & J, a product that always intrigued me as a child,* but was shot down by my mother as a marketing ploy like Lunchables, a “must-have” (and less healthy—HCFS, nitrates) “if you are a kid you must have this” solution to something that was never really a problem in the first place. [I mean, is it really that hard to open two jars instead of one?]
*Along with green ketchup. Remember that?

And yet, despite it’s plethora of problems–most notably the issues of PB:Jelly proportion and that when I was little it only came in grape, which I had a strong aversion to for an unknown reason–I couldn’t get the idea of peanut butter and jelly in a jar (PBAJIAJ?) out of my mind.

Since I happened to have a whole bunch of strawberries left over from my spontaneous 3lbs. strawberry purchase last Friday…
…I thought, WTH,* let’s make some PBAJIAJ! [Pronounced pee–badge–eee–adge.]
*WTH [interjection]: “what the hell?”; see also closest thing to cursing in The Smart KitchenBest thing about it? Only two ingredients.
Two cups of strawberries plus your food processor…
…makes a delicious almost-want-to-stop-with-the-experiment-and-just-eat-this puree of strawberry sweetness.
Scrape around the edges…
…and maybe sample a wee bit?
Then, choose your favorite peanut butter. [Or not your favorite, and just whatever you’ve got going on in the pantry.]
Add four tablespoons to the strawberry puree…
…and blend until smooooooooooooooth.
Scrape the sides and blend again, just to make sure everything is all mixed up.

Do not be alarmed when the puree explodes onto the lid of the food processor. That is what the lid is there for.It will not be super thick right away, and more of a peanut butter and jelly sauce-like substance.You will want to do a lot of taste testing on this one [trust me], just to make sure the proportion is good for you. (Feel free to add more or less peanut butter or strawberries…]See how it looks a little runny?It will thicken up considerably after some time in the fridge, though…and become more of a peanut buttery consistency.

[Also, not as pink. Not sure why. But whatever.]

Since this is PBAJIAJ we’re talking about, you should probably just eat spoonfuls of it out of the jar. However, you can utilize it in a myriad of ways: on top of ice cream, in a sandwich, on a banana, mixed into yogurt….or as I had it this morning–

…stirred into some cereal. It was like a yogurt substitute! [And can I just tell you the PBAJIAJ—which should have been eaten out of a jar…sorry–tastes absolutely incredible with bananas…]PBAJIAJ

[Peanut Butter & Jelly In a Jar]

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
4 Tbsp. chunky or creamy peanut butter

1. Puree strawberries in a food processor.
2. Add peanut butter. Process until smooth.
3. Use immediately as a sauce, or store in a jar in the fridge until thickened.

In efforts of full disclosure, I have to say I also experimented with ABAJIAJ [Almond Butter & Jelly In a Jar] since I had leftover strawberries….…and some almond butter gifted to me by my roommate.I used the same proportions of ingredients…
…and I have to say (even though it is PEANUT Butter & Jelly Day) I think I liked the Almond Butter & Jelly (in a jar) even better. :)

[And yes, it thickened up a whole lot, too.]
Perhaps C(ashew)BAJIAJ next?


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