Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Whether as an ingredient in a candy bar or some cookies, or simply eaten by the spoonful, pretty much everyone loves it in some way or another. And, of course, it provides the most important ingredient to one of America’s favorite quick and easy meals: the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.
So now it’s time to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day!
History of National Peanut Butter Day
Peanut butter is a culinary treat that actually most people think is a fairly modern invention, as food histories go. However, that may not be exactly the case.
I’m going to take this God-given gift of being funny, and I’m going to spread it out like peanut butter on everything I do.Steve Harvey
Peanut butter, as it is known today, has only been around for a little over a hundred years. But, actually, there is some evidence that ancient Aztec and Inca peoples may have been grinding peanuts into a sort of paste several hundred years ago (or maybe even a few thousand years ago!).
As far as the modern world is concerned, peanut butter arrived via the United States at some time in the late 1800s. Some theories claim that, like many foods, peanut butter probably started in someone’s kitchen in their home. One popular theory suggests that a woman named Rose Davis started making peanut butter in New York at some point in the 1840s. She got the idea from her son, who had learned about something similar that was being made in Cuba at the time.
Many people credit George Washington Carver with the invention of producing peanut butter but, while he was an amazing inventor credited with more than 300 uses for peanuts and is considered the father of the peanut industry, Carver did not actually invent peanut butter.
The creation of modern peanut butter, along with its production processes, can be traced back to at least three more people. In fact, it was Canadian Marcellus Edson who patented “peanut paste” first, back in 1884, but this was created from roasted peanuts. In 1895, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of the famed Kellogg’s cereal company, filed to patent a process using raw peanuts to create peanut butter, which was then referred to as “nut meal”. Then, in 1903, a peanut butter-making machine was patented by Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri.
As far as National Peanut Butter Day is concerned, it seems that this auspicious occasion was created many years ago, to allow peanut butter lovers to celebrate the creation of this wonderful food. And celebration is the whole purpose of the day!
National Peanut Butter Day Timeline
14th Century A.D.
Peanut butter is invented
The Incan peoples of Peru are believed to have been the first to mash up peanuts into paste and use it for food. It was more coarse than modern peanut butter (and was likely unsweetened) but was the predecessor to today’s smoother, sweeter version.
Rose Davis creates modern peanut butter
A resident of New York, Rose Davis was rumored to have gotten the idea for peanut butter from her son, who had traveled to Cuba. So she started making it in her own kitchen.
First peanut butter patent is granted in the United States
Marcellus Gilmore Edson was a Canadian chemist who first applied for (and was granted) a patent for a peanut paste which he called “peanut candy”. Although he held the patent, no evidence shows that he never actually made the product available commercially.
Bayle’s Peanut Butter claims status as “original”
St. Louis food manufacturer, Bayle’s, is rumored to have collaborated with a doctor who was looking for ways for patients to ingest protein when they could not chew meat. This led to the production of ground peanut paste, which was originally sold from barrels for 6 cents per pound.
Peter Pan becomes the first branded peanut butter
Receiving a license for his creative churning process from inventor Joseph L. Rosenfeld, Peter Pan makes its name on the market. This is followed only a few years later by Rosenfeld’s own brand, Skippy.
How to Celebrate National Peanut Butter Day
Celebrating this day can be something super simple or extra involved. No matter how it is enjoyed, Peanut Butter is the star of the show on this day! Try out some of these ideas for getting involved:
Enjoy Eating Some Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be eaten and used in many different recipes, whether sweet or savory, baked or fried. Plus, a lot of people see nothing wrong in sitting down and indulging in a jar of the creamy or crunchy delight with a spoon. What more would a person need? Today is the day that can be best appreciated in whatever way each person’s taste buds enjoy the most.
There are some individuals who commit to eating nothing but peanut butter-themed foods on National Peanut Butter Day. There are even schools that will serve peanut butter sandwiches to their students on this festive day. What better sandwich is there in the world?
Try Some New Peanut Butter Recipes
Families and friends can celebrate National Peanut Butter Day by getting together and creating delicious recipes containing peanut butter, from cookies and cakes to sauces. These can of course be consumed at home, or some prefer to make a day of it and go on a picnic-style outing. No matter what way it is eaten, getting creative in the kitchen with peanut butter can be a whole load of fun!
Try out some of these ideas for creating peanut butter dishes:
- Crispy Tofu Stir Fry with Cauliflower Rice. Super delicious and vegan (which is great for the health and the environment), this Asian inspired dish tosses cubes of tofu into a peanut butter marinade sauce after being baked and also pan fried.
- African Peanut Soup. Filled with chicken, nutritious sweet potatoes and other vegetables, this peanut soup is super healthy and also delicious!
- Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt. Easier than it sounds, this recipe simply requires combining premade yogurt, peanut butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Place in bite-sized dollups on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze (or make them into popsicles). A perfectly delightful summer snack for kids and adults!
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream. Speaking of frozen treats, why not make one out of the tasty ingredients of this classic American sandwich? The combination of sweet with salty is fabulous–especially when using crunchy peanut butter!
Share Some Peanut Butter Treats
After checking to be sure there aren’t any allergies, a great way to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day is by making (or buying) and sharing a variety of treats that include peanut butter.
Take a plate of peanut butter cookies to share with coworkers at the office, create a peanut butter pie to give to the neighbors, or take a close friend out to a restaurant for a peanut butter shake! National Peanut Butter Day is certainly tasty in any way that it is celebrated, but most people will find that it is best enjoyed when shared with others!
Learn Some Facts for National Peanut Butter Day
In celebration of National Peanut Butter Day, it’s time to brush up on some interesting facts and tidbits that can be shared with friends, while also sharing a peanut butter sandwich.
- Peanut Butter was officially introduced to the world at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, USA where a businessman named George Bayle started selling it. But it still took some time to gain popularity.
- The first recorded recipe for a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich was in 1901. It was written by Julia Davis Chandler and published in the Boston Cooking School Magazine.
- In the United States, in order for a product to be labeled as “peanut butter” it must contain at least 90% peanuts. This rule keeps the manufacturers from substituting other ingredients into the mix.
- The US has elected two different peanut farmers to represent them as the President of the United States of America. These include Thomas Jefferson of Virginia (who was president between 1801 and 1809) and Jimmy Carter of Georgia (who was president between 1977 and 1981). However, since peanut butter didn’t yet exist when Jefferson was president, the peanuts grown on his farms were probably not used to make this delicious treat.