National Peanut Butter Day
While the Aztecs and Incas may have ground peanuts into a paste, peanut butter as we know it arrived in the US in the 1800s. A Canadian chemist, Marcellus Edison, patented “peanut paste” made from roasted peanuts in 1884. Several years later, in 1985, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the cereal company guy) patented a process to make a “nut meal” from raw peanuts. The initial peanut butter-making machine was patented in 1903 by Dr. Ambrose Straub in St Louis, Missouri.
However, peanut butter was only sold to local markets because when the oil separated from the solids, it would rise to the top of the container and spoil. Joseph Rosefield patented a hydrogenation process that kept the components from separating. He sold the first license to Peter Pan in 1928 but later launched the Skippy brand himself. This process is what makes peanut butter an excellent shelf-stable, non-perishable food to keep on hand for emergencies.
We all grew up with the fundamental peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But did you know that US food regulations require peanut butter to contain at least 90% peanuts? Also, no “peanut butter” can contain artificial sweeteners, natural or artificial coloring additives, or chemical preservatives. So not only does it taste good, it’s good for you. It’s full of protein, vitamins, and minerals (and in full disclosure, it does contain fats and carbohydrates).
As a graduate of The Ohio State University, I would be remiss if I omitted a tasty peanut butter candy, “Buckeyes”, from this article. The treat is eponymous with the official state of Ohio nut, and also what OSU students and alumni call themselves.
What is your favorite peanut butter food item? Has this story made you crave a piece of peanut butter pie? I’ll bet you’re salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs right now.