Is Peanut Butter A Liquid Or Solid? The Surprising Answer!

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Who doesn’t love peanut butter?

It is smooth, creamy, nutty, and perfect for toast, dessert, milkshakes, smoothies, and making sauce for noodles.

But have you ever sat back with a spoonful of peanut butter, enjoying it, and wondered, “what exactly is the peanut butter? Is it a solid or a liquid?”

Well, when peanut butter is heated, it is a liquid, and when it is cooled, it is a solid. Room temperature and the natural form are in a physical structure called Quasi-Solid or Semi-solid. By definition, quasi-solid is a co-existent state between liquid and solid.

Now let’s go ahead and discover a bit more about what makes peanut butter a quasi-solid and what this actually means when it comes to wanting to take your precious peanut butter with you on a plane!

Why Peanut Butter Is Considered Quasi-Solid

Peanut butter, being quasi-solid, has its own ability to hold shape and support its weight.

At the same time, it has some properties of liquid as well, like changing shape when pressure is applied.

The most common example is spreading peanut butter on toast. 

It is fascinating to see how peanut butter is eaten as solid and handled as a liquid. 

Because of its physical consistency and taste, it has probably become the most versatile food item in your pantry.

Have you ever wondered how peanut butter has a high shelf life?

You can keep peanut butter in your pantry for months, and its texture will always remain the same. 

Let us unravel the scientific reasons behind it.

So, peanut butter is a quasi solid because it has a lattice of solid molecules but also has manoeuvrable properties of the liquid.

This tasty spread is really just peanuts blended until the fat from the peanuts breakdown the solid part of it and forms this substance called peanut butter.

The high amounts of fat and low amount of moisture in peanut butter is what gives it such a long shelf life.

Understanding the formation of peanut butter and its texture, it stands true to the rules of ‘Non-Newtonian Fluid.’

Due to its unstable reaction to temperature and external pressure, it is considered a Non-Newtonian Fluid.

In just one minute, peanut butter behaves like a solid; other times, it will be a liquid too.

The molecular form of the peanut butter lets it have the container shape, making it scoop-able and spreadable too.

All scientific explanations aside; I think we can all agree that this sweet, salty, and nutty mixture is a great addition to any meal or snack!

Can You Take Peanut Butter On A Plane?

According to Transportation Security Administration (TSA), peanut butter is a liquid food item.

They have one rule for the liquid: whether food items, shampoo, mouthwash, or whatever, i.e., it should be less than 3.4 ounces or 100 ml for the hand carry or the carry-on bag.

In a Twitter post, they mentioned that “Any item, including extra-crunchy peanut butter that you can pump squeeze, spread smear, spay, or spill must follow our liquid rule in carry-on bags.”

The reason behind this liquid rule is that certain items, including food, have a molecular composition of nitroglycerin, which can bring problems when under pressure. 

Peanut butter has carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen molecules that are a little more similar to nature nitroglycerin exhibit. 

So, TSA has restricted all liquid within a safe small quantity to avoid any complications during the flight.

We know peanut butter usually comes in big jars. 

So, you can either put them in small containers or buy food-safe Ziplock pouches.

I personally like to use Ziplock pouches (these are great!) because they don’t take up a lot of space, and I can seal them tightly so the peanut butter doesn’t dry out.

However, the funny (yet contradictory) thing is you can take peanut butter solidified products like chocolate peanut butter cups, crackers and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with no quantity limit in your carry-on bags.

When it comes to checked baggage, any size peanut butter jar is allowed, but you may have to pay baggage fees depending on the maximum weight limit.

A tip from me to you: if you are traveling with peanut butter jars, pack them well so that they won’t break or leak or spill all over your belongings. 

Make sure to use a hard-sided suitcase in order to prevent damage and leaking as much as possible.

Even though peanut butter is delicious, I wouldn’t want my fellow vacationers smelling me from miles away.

Why Does My Peanut Butter Have Liquid On Top?

If you notice liquid on top of your peanut butter, it’s most likely due to the oils in the peanuts separating from the solids.

This is perfectly normal and doesn’t mean that your peanut butter has gone bad. 

In fact, you can simply stir the liquid back into the peanut butter and it will be as good as new.

If you find that your peanut butter is separating more than usual, it could be due to the type of peanuts used, the manufacturing process, or even how old the peanut butter is. 

However, as long as the liquid isn’t discolored and doesn’t have an abnormal smell, it’s still perfectly safe to eat.

So, the next time you see liquid on top of your peanut butter, don’t be alarmed.

Just give it a good stir and enjoy!

In Conclusion

Peanut butter is not just very tasty but also has that manoeuvrable consistency that is neither considered liquid nor solid.

Peanut butter is known as a Quasi-Solid or semi-solid that falls under the category of ‘Non-Newtonian Fluid.’

Nevertheless, this delicious spreadable peanut butter has shown exceptional properties that we often find in liquid and solid.

Now when it comes to traveling with peanut butter, especially on a plane, the TSA calls peanut butter a liquid and applies their liquid rule to carry less than 3.4 ounces or 100 ml on carry-on bags.

Even though this may sound a bit redundant, there actual scientific and safety reasons to limit the liquid quantity.

However, if you do insist on taking a jar of peanut butter with you on your trip, you can put them in your checked baggage without a hassle.

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