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The History of Peanut Butter

September 14, 2016

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Unless you have an allergy to peanuts, you've probably thoroughly enjoyed a peanut butter sandwich at some point or another in your life. I know I have! Peanut butter is great with jam, bananas, or just on its own. In the United States, National Peanut Butter Day is January 24th, so let's celebrate by learning a little bit about this delightfully nutty snack. 

The History of Peanut Butter Video!

 

What is Peanut Butter? 

  • Peanut butter can be made in a lot of different ways, but essentially it is a paste made out of peanuts. A lot of peanut butter brands will add extra salt, sugar, and chemicals, but natural peanut butter is all nut. 
  • It's a North American tradition to eat peanut butter on bread in sandwich form, but it can also be used when cooking anything from cookies to curry sauces. 
  • Peanut butter, particularly at its most natural, can be an excellent source of nutrition. It contains protein, iron, and potassium, all of which are vital to keeping you healthy. 

Mmm...looks so good!Mmm...looks so good!Courtesy of peanutbutterlovers.com

The Invention of Peanut Butter

  • There is evidence that the Aztecs made peanut butter as early as the 14th century. They simply mashed up roasted peanuts. 
  • In the late 1800s, a number of people experimented with the making of peanut butter, such as John Harvey Kellogg (inventor of Cornflakes) and George Washington Carver (famous botanist and inventor). 
  • The first person to patent peanut butter, in 1884, was Marcellus Gilmore Edson, of Montreal, Canada. 

John Harvey Kellogg created cornflakes cereal in 1894 and later invented Rice Krispies! John Harvey Kellogg created cornflakes cereal in 1894 and later invented Rice Krispies! Courtesy of mentalfloss.com

Modern Peanut Butter

  • A number of inventors are credited with helping us to to the kinds of peanut butter that we enjoy today. The first peanut butter-making machine was invented in 1904, and in 1922 a chemist by the name of Joseph Rosenfeld invented the process by which smooth peanut butter is made. 
  • Rosenfeld's invention was later used in Peter Pan peanut butter, and in 1932 he began producing his own brand of peanut butter, called Skippy. His invention really set the stage for modern peanut butter consumption!

Yup, you can still buy Skippy peanut butter!Yup, you can still buy Skippy peanut butter!Courtesy of time.com

Peanut Butter Fun Facts

  • In the Netherlands, peanut butter is called pindakaas, which translates to "peanut cheese".
  • Edson originally invented peanut butter to be marketed as product for people who had no teeth and could not chew on solid food!
  • Most peanut butter is made (and consumed) in the United States, where people eat $800 million worth a year! 
  • It can take up to 540 peanuts to make a jar of peanut butter. 

A lot of American farmers make their living by harvesting peanuts. A lot of American farmers make their living by harvesting peanuts. Courtesy of deltafarmpress.com

Feeling hungry yet? Go ahead and celebrate National Peanut Butter Day by helping yourself to a good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich (unless you're allergic, of course)! 

Have Your Say!

How do you like to eat peanut butter? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section!