January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day. Unless you have a peanut allergy, you are one of the millions of Americans who like to indulge in some peanut butter quite often. Creamy or chunky, with chocolate or with jelly, peanut butter has been an American staple for generations. It goes good with apples, celery, graham crackers or just a spoonful by itself! You can cook with it, bake with it or melt it and poor it on top of something. It is nutritious and delicious!
Did You Know?
- Peanut butter didn’t become widely used until the 20th century. First, the peanut had to be considered more than animal feed, which it was until the late 1800s. At the turn of the century, inventions that made planting, cultivating and harvesting the legume (the peanut isn’t a nut at all) made it possible to see the peanut as a retail and wholesale food item
- Peanuts, are actually not a nut at all, they are a legume.
- It is a good source of vitamin E, B6, niacin, calcium, potassium and iron, is packed with protein and is rich in healthy monounsaturated fat.
- In 1884, Edson developed a process to make peanut paste from milling roasted peanuts between two heated plates.
- Dr. Straub is responsible for patenting a peanut butter making machine in 1903.
- In 1922, through homogenization, Joseph Rosefield was able to keep peanut oil from separating from the peanut solids. He later sold the patent to a company that began making Peter Pan peanut butter.
The PB&J Sandwich
The average American schoolchild will consume about 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time he or she graduates from high school, according to the Peanut Advisory Board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to research on the nutritional value of peanuts.
UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Agent and co-organizer of the annual Peanut Butter Challenge for the Panhandle, Libbie Johnson stated, “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste so darn good” and another reason why they are so popular is, “because they require no refrigeration and are easy to prepare. They have enough sweetness to satisfy a sweet tooth, but they’re filling.”
Nan Jensen, a family and consumer sciences agent with UF/IFAS Extension in Pinellas County says, The savory, gooey texture of peanut butter paired with sweet, sticky jelly served between two slices of your favorite bread make for a great flavor combination. Most of us grew up eating PB&J sandwiches-a lunch box staple- and the tradition has been passed down through the generations.
- The first located reference to the now immortal peanut butter and jelly sandwich was published by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901.
- Food historians do not know exactly when the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was first prepared, and there have been no advertisements or mentions of PB&J before the 1940s.
- It is known, however, that both peanut butter and jelly were on the U.S. Military ration menus in World War II, and some have suggested that the GIs added jelly to their peanut butter to make it taste better. It was an instant hit and returning GIs made peanut butter and jelly sales soar in the U.S.
Extension faculty suggest limiting intake to about 2 tablespoons- about 180 calories, which is a serving size on the nutrition facts label. For a healthier option, buy peanut butter that is just ground peanuts with a hint of salt and one that doesn’t contain the partially hydrogenated fat and added sugars.
If you would like to know more about peanuts, peanut butter, contact your local Extension Office.
Jana Hart- Extension Agent- FCS, 4-H