Tomorrow, September 13th, is National Peanut Day! What better time to read up on peanut butter? Peanut butter is a popular American food that you will likely come across in the United States. It's a spread made of roasted peanuts that are mashed into a paste. It comes in a "chunky" or a "creamy" form, salted or unsalted and makes a great addition to many foods. Peanuts also have health benefits. Peanuts have more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any nut and peanuts and peanut butter contain over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Native to the tropical regions of the Americas, peanuts have been used to make a peanut butter-like substance for hundreds of years. The U.S. and China are currently the leading exporters of peanut butter.
Peanut butter dates back a few centuries. There is evidence that the Aztecs mashed peanuts to make a pasty substance for their consumption, but it differed from the peanut butter we know today. The patent of the version as we know it was issued in 1884 to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal Canada. Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri patented the peanut butter making machine in 1903.
Many people think an American named George Washington Carver invented peanut butter; however, he only researched and promoted the many uses of peanuts, as well as other crops such as sweet potatoes and soybeans during the early 20th century. He actually promoted 145 peanut products, which he called "The Possibilities of the Peanut" in 1920.
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or PBJ, is a classic American lunch food. It's quick, easy, cheap and delicious! Spread peanut butter on one piece of bread and any type of fruit jelly or jam (grape or strawberry is most common) on another piece of bread to make the sandwich. Besides the classic PB & J, peanut butter can also be spread on crackers or fruit and is often incorporated into recipes, such as peanut butter cookies or peanut butter ice cream. Peanut butter is also combined with chocolate in many desserts. Peanut butter is certainly the most popular food spread but others exist and have become increasingly popular in the U.S., such as almond butter, cashew butter and hazelnut butter.
- Peanuts aren't actually a nut—they're a legume!
- Americans eat around 700 million pounds of peanut butter per year
- Two former U.S. presidents were peanut farmers: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter
- While peanuts have many uses, more than half of the American peanut crop goes into making peanut butter
- An average American child eats 1,500 PB & J sandwiches before graduating from high school
- It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter
To learn more about peanut butter, visit the National Peanut Board's website
Or, make something delicious! Here are some peanut butter recipes.
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Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.