Did you know that November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month in the US? Peanut butter is not strictly American, however – sources site that it is popular throughout North America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and parts of Asia, particularly the Philippines and Indonesia. In Africa people made ground peanuts into stews as early as the 1400s; in China people have crushed peanuts into creamy sauces for centuries.
Southern Peanut Growers, representing southeastern United States peanut farmers, started the celebration as Peanut Butter Lovers Day on November 4, 1990. November 4 marks the anniversary of the first patent for peanut butter, applied for by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg on November 4, 1895. (There was a patent for an alternative method of producing cooked peanut paste issued to Canadian Marcellus Edson of Montreal in 1884.)
It grew to a month-long celebration in 1995 when peanut butter celebrated its 100th birthday!
Some of the key dates in peanut butter history:
- 1890: A St. Louis physician developed the idea of packaging peanut paste for people with bad teeth. Peanut paste was sold for six cents per pound.
- 1895: The Kellogg brothers patented the process of preparing peanut butter with steamed nuts. Today the nuts are roasted, and the peanut butter is much tastier.
- 1903: Dr. George Washington Carver developed more than 300 other uses for peanuts, and is considered by many to be the father of the peanut industry.
- 1904: C.H. Sumner introduced peanut butter to the world at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis. He sold $705.11 of the treat at his concession stand!
- 1908: Krema Products Company in Columbus, Ohio, began selling peanut butter and is the oldest peanut butter company still in operation today.
- 1922: Joseph L. Rosefield sold peanut butter in California, churning it to make it smoother. He received the first patent for peanut butter that could stay fresh up to a year. 1928: One of the first companies to adopt Rosefield’s process was Swift & Company, later renamed Peter Pan.
- 1932: Rosefield began producing peanut butter under the Skippy label, and created the first crunchy-style peanut butter two years later.
- 1955: Procter & Gamble entered the peanut butter business, introduced Jif in 1958. Now owned by the J.M. Smucker Company, Jif operates the world’s largest peanut butter plant, producing 250,000 jars every day!
It was never really popular here in Israel. Kidlet was usually the only child in her class to bring PB&J in her pita bread to school. Many of her friends, as well as their parents, had never had this wonderful treat. I often made samples for other parents to taste when their kids came over to visit. I baked peanut butter cookies for school parties. Today, however, Reeses treats are familiar, and peanut butter can be found on most supermarket shelves. Including imported familiar brands.
My British pals never liked peanut butter with jam or anything sweet, they were accustomed to eating it spread on a sandwich with a slice of cheese!
I like peanut butter, honey and banana myself. Kidlet adds peanut butter to brownies when she bakes for her boyfriend.
It’s great with apples, with celery…or just plain out of the jar with a spoon.
(Just ask Brad Pitt in the film Meet Joe Black. I loved that detail…)
We have to buy two jars for this household. I prefer crunchy, kidlet likes smooth. There is a bit of a difference. Both crunchy/chunky and smooth peanut butter are good sources of unsaturated fats. However, crunchy/chunky peanut butter has slightly more unsaturated and less saturated fat than smooth. Smooth peanut butter doesn’t have as much fiber in it as crunchy/chunky.
However you like it, celebrate this month with peanut butter in your diet!
Tags: peanut butter