Think beyond peanut butter cookies and PB&Js with these 13 surprising uses for PB
While some of the “National [fill-in-the-blank] Days” can seem silly (Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day? Really?), tomorrow's holiday is one we can get behind: National Peanut Butter Day!
Now, it’s no secret that fit people love peanut butter. So you’re probably already a pro at eating it, whether you like to add it to your smoothies, bake it into cookies, cook with it some other healthy way, or even if you’re just a fan of peanut butter fingers. (Guilty!)
But what you may not realize is that peanut butter is useful for more than filling you up and providing you with lasting energy. Did you know you can use it to shave, for example—or that it can help diagnose the early stages of Alzheimer’s? Get ready to fall more in love with the nutty stuff than ever.
You may have heard of using peanut butter to get gum out of your hair—but it works on anything sticky, including tough-to-remove price stickers, bugs on your windshield, gum from the bottom of your shoe, and gunk in your carpet. Just slather it on and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping it off. The oils take the stick away, making for easier cleanup.
Here’s one grandma swears by: After cooking fish, transfer the food to another plate and toss a tablespoon of peanut butter into the warm frying pan for a minute or two. Some people say this works better if you add the peanut butter to the edge of the pan while the fish is cooking. (Worried about How Cooking Affects Omega-3s? Don’t be.)
This one is a little, ahem, nutty. But if you’re desperate for shaving cream and have no other substitutes on hand, peanut butter can work in a pinch. The oils will help your razor glide smoothly and moisturize your skin so you avoid nicks. (Would You Shave Your Face?)
Peanut butter overpowers the scent of garlic and onions, and is easier to wash off. You can also swallow a spoonful to nix garlic breath. (Watch Judy Joo explain the Best Way to Peel Garlic.)
Being unable to smell peanut butter out of your left nostril is an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to University of Florida researchers. They found that people in the early stages of the disease had to hold peanut butter 10 centimeters closer to their left nostril than they did to their right in order to smell it. (Great news for runners: Time on the Treadmill May Counteract Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms.)
Finally wore out that copy of Mean Girls (or your fave fitness DVD)? Try rubbing the back of the disc with peanut butter, letting it sit, then wiping it clean. The oils temporarily fill in scratches, so you should get at least one or two skip-less plays before needing to repeat.
At this point in the winter, your shoes may be looking a little dull. To brighten up the leather, rub in some peanut butter, then buff it away. (Try a spot-test first, just in case.)
Apply a thick layer and let it sit for about 30 minutes, longer for bigger scratches. The oils in the peanut butter are supposed to sink into the scratch, helping to darken it a bit. Some people also swear by peanut butter for white water marks: Apparently, the oils help displace the trapped water, vanishing the stain. (Again, spot-test first.)
Even if you hide a pill in your dog’s food, he may still sniff it out. Peanut butter is smelly enough to mask the odor completely—and most dogs love the sticky stuff, so he’ll gobble it right down. (And if he’s sick, don’t worry: It’s probably not Ebola.)
Okay, this is technically cooking—but it’s too genius to leave off the list. Replace butter in any recipe with peanut butter. You don’t have to alter the amount or cook time, and the finished product will look about the same, but it’ll have a slightly different, nuttier taste. (If you’re new to vegan cooking, a great start is these super-easy, crazy-tasty Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites. Or if you’re looking for something more savory, try these Peanut Butter Noodles.)
Loosen up creaky door hinges and other objects in need of a good oiling by spreading on a liberal amount of PB, letting it sit, then wiping away with a soft cloth.
The whole mice-love-cheese thing may actually be a myth. What they do love? Peanut butter! If you have a rodent problem, try baiting traps with the spread. It can also fix an ant problem: Just mix equal parts peanut butter and borax (a powdered laundry detergent that’s poisonous to ants when eaten) and place on a small tray in any out-of-the-way place where you’ve seen ants congregate.
Summer camp throwback! Roll a pinecone in peanut butter, then again in seeds. Hang somewhere the squirrels won’t get at it and enjoy the feathered flocks. (But we’ll probably skip the Bird Poop Facial, thankyouverymuch.)