National Peanut Butter Day is a holiday which falls annually on January 24th and celebrates the tasty food spread made from grinding up the legume Arachis hypogaea. It’s a food paste that’s been enjoyed since the 19th century. Today, it’s used to make everything from the iconic peanut butter & jelly sandwich to peanut butter cookies, cakes, and chocolate bars. This is the second peanut butter based holiday celebrated in the U.S. The second one is called National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day and is celebrated on March 1st.
The History of Peanut Butter
Technically speaking, peanut butter can be traced all the way back to about 1500 B.C. This is when Incas ground peanuts down to make a paste. However, many historians don’t consider this to be when peanut butter was invented because that original concoction was less like the butter of today and more like a paste. There is also the fact that they often ground the peanuts up with maize and put the resulting product in a drink. The Aztecs also ground peanuts into a paste they used to treat toothaches.
In the United States, many people credit George Washington Carver as the inventor of peanut butter. However, that isn’t correct either. While Mr. Carver was instrumental in promoting the 300+ uses for peanuts – with peanut butter being one of those uses – he didn’t actually invent it. It was actually invented by Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884 in Canada. At least, he was the first person to file a patent for his peanut paste. The following year, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented the process for making peanut butter from peanuts. And in 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub patented a machine that made peanut butter in St. Louis, Mo.
In 1922, chemist Joseph Rosefield found a way to keep smooth peanut butter from separating from the oil. He used a process that introduced partially hydrogenated oil into the peanut butter and kept the peanut butter stable. 6 years later, in 1928, he would license his invention to the company that would create Peter Pan Peanut Butter. 4 years later, he started his own peanut butter company called Skippy. Today, peanut butter is sold through a multitude of generic and name brands. While Peter Pan and Skippy are still making their brands of peanut butter, there are numerous others competing with them. Some of the more popular peanut butter brands include Jif, Justin’s, Planters, Smucker’s and MaraNatha.
Fun Facts About Peanut Butter
- Two U.S Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter, were peanut farmers
- One acre of peanuts will yield approximately 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches
- The average peanut farm is 100 acres
- 75% of American homes currently has a jar of peanut butter
- About 1.5% of the American public has a peanut allergy
- Americans spend over $800 million dollars on peanut butter a year
- Women & children are most likely to enjoy creamy peanut butter
- Men are most likely to enjoy chunky peanut butter
- A nickname for the peanut is Goober
Celebrating National Peanut Butter Day
You can celebrate National Peanut Butter Day by simply enjoying this product the way you like to enjoy it. That can be in a PB&J sandwich; in a candy bar; with chocolate; with maple syrup or simply straight out of the jar. After all, there is no wrong way to celebrate this tasty spread. Feel free to go nuts over it any way you wish.