A Tribute To Peanut Butter, Yum! – Oh, And A Lot Of Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Peanuts

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I must admit to not having much time for nuts with allergies, er… to nuts. But I’ve always liked the edible variety, particularly peanuts and peanut butter. Liked it when I was a kid, still like it today. One of the best culinary inventions ever, in my opinion.

Mr Peanut - Planters logo
Mr Peanut – Planters logo

 

Peanut butter has been invented and reinvented many times during history. Peanuts were known as early as 950 B.C. and originated in South America. The ancient Incas used peanuts and were known to have made it into a paste-like substance.

As a crop, peanuts emigrated from South America to Africa thanks to early explorers and from there traveled by trade into Spain which then traded the product to the American colonies. A rather roundabout way to get to the US, but there you are, or rather, here it is.

The first commercial peanut crop was grown in Virginia in the early to mid 1840’s and in North Carolina beginning around 1818.

According to the Corn Products Company, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis patented a peanut butter-making machine in 1903 and some unknown doctor invented peanut butter in 1890.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented a “Process of Preparing Nut Meal” in 1895 and used peanuts. Kellogg served the patients at his Battle Creek Sanitarium peanut butter. Joseph Lambert worked for Dr. Kellogg and began selling his own hand-operated peanut butter grinder in 1896. Almeeta Lambert published the first nut cookbook, “The Complete Guide to Nut Cookery” in 1899.

By 1914, many companies were making peanut butter.

Joseph L. Rosenfield invented a churning process that made peanut butter smooth and in 1928, licensed his invention to the Pond Company, the makers of “Peter Pan” peanut butter.

Peter Pan peanut butter

In 1932, he began making his own brand of peanut butter called “Skippy” which included a crunchy style peanut butter.

Skippy Peanut Butter

But it is possibly agricultural chemist, George Washington Carver who has the best claim to the peanut butter gold medal position. In the course of his research he discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes.

Carver wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life.

He started popularizing uses for peanut products including peanut butter, paper, ink, and oils beginning in 1880, the most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts.

However, Carver did not patent peanut butter as he believed food products were all gifts from God. The 1880 date precedes all the above inventors except of course for the Incas, who were first. It was Carver who made peanuts a significant crop in the American South in the early 1900’s. Today half of all edible peanuts produced in the United States are used to make peanut butter and peanut spreads.

Thanks Mr G W Carver.

George Washington Carver - One Of America's Great Sscientists
George Washington Carver – One Of America’s Great Scientists

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And here are a lot of other things you probably didn’t know about peanuts….

 

  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite;
  • The peanut is not a nut, it is actually a legume;
  • It takes more than 500 peanuts to make one 12 ounce jar of peanut butter;
  • The Planters Peanut Company mascot, Mr. Peanut, was created during a contest for schoolchildren in 1916;
  • Throughout the South, peanuts were known as “Monkey Nuts,” and “Goober peas,” before the civil war;
  • The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth is called Arachibutyrophobia;
  • People living on the east coast prefer creamy peanut butter, while people living on the west coast prefer chunky peanut butter;
  • Skippy Peanut Butter is sold more in the world than any other peanut butter;
  • The average American kid will eat approximately 1.500 peanut butter sandwiches by high school graduation;
  • The #1 peanut producing state is Georgia;
  • On average, the American household consumes six pounds of peanut butter annually;
  • 96% of people put the peanut butter on first when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich;
  • Americans consume the most peanut butter in the world;
  • Approximately three jars of peanut butter are sold every second;
  • In a year, about 90 million jars of Skippy Peanut Butter are sold. (This works out to three jars sold every second);
  • In the U.S. peanuts account for 66% of all snack nuts;
  • Both Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter, U.S. presidents, were peanut farmers at one time;
  • Peanut butter is an effective way to remove chewing gum from hair or clothes;
  • Incas used to create pots in the shape of peanuts that were highly prized;
  • In Greene, New York, you are not allowed to eat peanuts and walk backwards on the sidewalk during a concert.

 

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19 thoughts on “A Tribute To Peanut Butter, Yum! – Oh, And A Lot Of Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Peanuts

  1. Of course the West Coast likes theirs chunky. You are what you eat! 😀
    I want to say that some part of the peanut is usable as a substitute for part of the oil used in plastics. But my mental processes aren’t firing quite normally right now. 😉

  2. 96% put the peanut butter on first…hmmmm…well, I guess my husband is a rare bird indeed! He puts jelly/honey/jam on first. Now I have proof my thought that was odd is correct! Ha! 🙂 another great post, as usual.

  3. Ok, where is it? I know there’s a pun disguised as a peanut here somewhere….

    By the way – did you know that Australian Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos LOVE peanuts so much that they’ve adapted to pulling the entire plant out of the ground to get to the peanuts. Flocks of several hundreds have been know to wreak havoc on peanut plantations.

    • No I didn’t know that. How destructive and a nightmare for the growers. The Australians seem to do pests in a big way.

      I see you are craving a pun. Dunno whether this qualifies or not, but before he went into politics and became President and all that, Jimmy Carter used to greet everybody by saying (in his accent of course), “High there, the name’s Jimmy Carter. Would you like to see my peanuts?”
      Wonder how many times he got slapped 😉

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