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Peanut butter has a l-o-n-g history, perhaps starting with the Aztecs who made a paste of mashed roasted peanuts. The Incas had their own version. Both ancient societies benefited from the protein-rich paste, and are credited in many circles as the “creators” of peanut butter. I’m confident in saying that those products were no where near as nutritious as today’s ultra-rich peanut butter. Most of it on the market today, per serving, has more than 19% of the daily values of fiber, protein, vitamins E and B6, niacin and pantothenic acid; is high in manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper; also contains thiamin, iron and potassium.

To be marketed as “peanut butter” for human consumption  today (whether creamy or chunky style, natural or salt-free), it must have at least 90% peanut content. It is an ingredient used heavily not only for PB&J sandwiches, but also in cookies, candies (like this month’s center pieces from your favorite Chocolate of the Month Club!), breads, crackers, and savory sauces. (Of course, peanut butter made especially as treats for dogs and bird food are not similarly mandated.) No longer marketed for 6 cents per pound as it was at one time, today the U.S. is the leading exporter and consumer, purchasing $800 million of it annually.

The actual “invention” of the tasty treat, the process with which to make it, and the machinery used in its manufacture, are credited to three other people, all from North America. In Canada in 1884, Marcellus Edson patented peanut paste by milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces. Eleven years later, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the creator of Kellogg’s cereal) acquired the patent for the process of making it, using raw peanuts. The Battle

Creek Sanitarium where he practiced served this peanut butter as a healthy protein for patients who were lacking teeth and could not chew mainstream food choices. Finally in 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis invented and patented the machine that actually made peanut butter.

Many history books actually give credit to George Washington Carver as being “The Father of Peanut Butter.” This is inaccurate, although he did extensive work in cultivating peanut crops and developing scores of recipes which furthered the popularity of peanut butter.

In World War II, peanut butter was a staple, it’s slang name being “Monkey Butter.” Today, peanut butter is popular globally, and used to fight malnutrition in famine-stricken countries world-wide. A form of it called Plumpy Nut, sealed in individual 500-calorie tubes. They require no refrigeration, cooking or preparation, and stay fresh for up to two years.

PEANUT SENSITIVITY? Peanuts are known to trigger allergic reactions in some people. Please be aware of the peanut content in our selection this month. As all our products were packaged together, it is possible that all have come in contact with the nuts.

This  Month’s Heavenly Selection from Your Favorite Chocolate of the Month Club: “P.B. & FRUITY”  — Center pieces are — PEANUT BUTTER WHITE CHOCOLATE BARS  — Outer pieces include — DARK CHOCOLATE WITH PEACHY CREAM MIDDLE MILK CHOCOLATE WITH MANGO CREAM MIDDLE

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Tracie Burket
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