GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is as about as American as apple pie. So, celebrate the American tradition by eating a sandwich on National Peanut Butter Day, Jan. 24.
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.
Libbie Johnson, agricultural agent for UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County and co-organizer of the annual Peanut Butter Challenge for the Florida Panhandle, explained the popularity of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
“Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste so darn good,” Johnson said. “Or maybe 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 Pinellas County offers a more expansive explanation.
“It probably has to do with a combination of taste and nostalgia,” Jensen said. “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.”
But peanut butter’s value also lie in its nutrients, she said.
“While it is high in fat and calories, it is a healthier monounsaturated type, and you are getting some protein, magnesium, niacin, phosphorous and vitamin E for your calorie investment,” Jensen said.
Extension faculty suggest limiting intake to about 2 tablespoons – about 180 calories. Jensen offers additional advice to try to ensure people get nutrition without so much unhealthy trans fats and added sugar in their peanut butter: 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.
Consumers can do much more with peanut butter than make PB&J sandwiches. Jensen suggests some tasty, unique ways to use peanut butter:
- Put it in a smoothie.
- Make a sauce.
- Add it to soup.
- Bake with it.
- Use it as a dipper for fruit and veggies.
By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.