Time-saving spread or unnecessary combo?
No sandwich is quite as iconic as peanut butter and jelly. The humble PB&J is inexpensive, easy to make, and filling. People who have spent any time in the nut butter section of the grocery store may also recognize another option for making PB&J that comes in a single jar. The spread, layered with vertical globs of peanut butter and jelly, is fittingly known by the generic term “stripes.” A jar of peanut butter and jelly may be just that, but doesn’t that make you have questions? How do the stripes stay perfectly vertical? Was it really necessary to combine two of the most simple condiments into one jar? Just… why?
The most common brand of jarred peanut butter and jelly is Goober, which is made by Smucker’s. A jar of Goober Grape PB&J Stripes contains roasted peanuts, grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, vegetable monoglycerides (an emulsifier, this one made from palm oil), pectin, salt, citric acid, potassium sorbate (a preservative), sodium citrate (a sour salt used for flavor and as a preservative). A few other brands also make their own generic version of the sandwich spread, among them Kroger and Great Value.
Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter is made simply with peanuts and salt, and their Strawberry Jelly with strawberry juice, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, fruit pectin, and citric acid. As you can tell from the ingredients list, Goober still contains some additional sugars and preservatives. This is likely in order to keep the two very different products fresh as they co-mingle—for example, if you were to make your own jar of peanut butter and jelly stripe spread, it would be more likely to grow mold more quickly than Goober or another brand of pre-mixed PB&J spread.
The jar’s clean lines of jelly stay put thanks to super thick peanut butter, made only with roasted peanuts. The jelly is inserted into the peanut butter, and has no choice but to stay in pace.