Spreading the News: Peanut Butter Challenge

The University of Florida does not endorse any particular brand of peanut butter.

Originally printed in the Lynn Haven Ledger

Once again, UF/IFAS Extension faculty and staff will be collecting unopened jars of peanut butter from residents, volunteer groups and businesses in 16 northwest Florida counties. This challenge has been ongoing since 2012. It raises the awareness of North Florida’s peanut growers while providing a healthy food to those in need.

Peanut butter, a good staple at any time, has been around since the late1800’s. If you are like me, a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a bowl of vegetable soup is very satisfying for lunch or dinner. Research shows the average child will consume 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before they graduate from high school.

Here are a few peanut butter facts to nibble on…Peanut butter is loaded with nutrition! Two tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1-ounce equivalent meat/meat alternate. Each 1-ounce serving of peanut butter contains about 7 grams of protein and 6% of the daily-recommended amount of dietary fiber. Peanut butter is packed with the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, muscle-friendly potassium, bone-building magnesium, immunity-boosting vitamin B6, and is rich in phosphorus, zinc, and copper. Although 1-ounce peanut butter supplies 24% total fat, most of it comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are the “good” fats. Some peanut varieties developed at UF/IFAS contain higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acid called “oleic acid”.

Some fun facts from the National Peanut Board:

  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • In the U.S., the law states that to be labeled “peanut butter” it must be at least 90 percent peanuts.
  • The average peanut farm is 200 acres.
  • Women and children prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men prefer chunky.

Last year, 6,388 jars (8,900 lbs.) of peanut butter were donated to various food pantries throughout the NW district. Bay County collected and distributed 830 jars (1,092 lbs.) to citizens in Bay County. The Florida Peanut Producers Association matches the amount of peanut butter collected in the district making this a unique partnership.

If you want to help feed the hungry in Florida’s Panhandle this year, you can participate in the annual peanut butter challenge from Oct. 1 through Nov. 21. UF/IFAS Extension coordinates this challenge. Unopened jars of peanut butter can be dropped off at the UF/IFAS Extension Bay County office, located at 2728 E. 14th Street, Panama City, FL or the Bay County Government Center, 840 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL.

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