Did You Know?
- Peanut butter was a big seller at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis but did not really take off until much later. In the 1920s, the process of stabilization was discovered, allowing it to be stored without refrigeration.
- The biggest boost may have occurred in World War II. The government fed peanut butter to GIs, who then came home, started the baby boom and fed the stuff to their kids.
- Peanuts, primarily grown in eight Southern states, are the nation’s 12th largest cash crop. They are a $500-million-a-year crop in Georgia, which produces nearly half of the nation’s supply.
- It takes 548 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter, and an acre of peanuts will yield 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
- *About half of the 4-billion-pound annual crop is devoted to the production of peanut butter and the other half is almost equally split among salted nuts, candy and peanut oil.
- Ninety percent of a jar of peanut butter must be peanuts, but it also may contain salt, sweeteners and hydrogenated vegetable oil as a stabilizer.
- George Washington Carver discovered that the peanut plant could also be used in shaving cream, ink, paint, explosives, shampoo, pet litter, fire logs, lipstick and soap.
- Americans are expected to eat 800 million pounds of peanut butter this year, more than double the 350 million pounds consumed in 1960, according to the peanut board. That’s an average of 3.3 pounds per person.
- Although peanut butter is portrayed as a kids’ food, adults consume 55% of it.
- Not everyone loves peanut butter, of course. In fact, there is even a word for the phobia of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of the mouth: arachibrityraphobia.
Peanuts Made Famous
- Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA – Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
- Astronaut Alan Shepard brought a peanut with him to the moon. Read about peanuts bringing good luck to NASA.
- Peanut butter was the secret behind “Mr. Ed,” TV’s talking horse. Spreading peanut butter inside the horse’s mouth created a natural talking movement every time the animal moved his sticky jaws.
- Baseball Hall of Fame’s, Jim “Catfish” Hunter and Gaylord Perry are peanut farmers from North Carolina (Hunter from Hertford and Perry from Williamston).
- Former President Bill Clinton confessed that one of his favorite sandwiches is peanut butter and banana; also reported to have been the favorite of Elvis “the King” Presley.
- In Barbara Mandrell’s hit song “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” she sings about putting peanuts in her bottle of Coke®. (This method of enjoying peanuts was developed by southern farm workers as a practical snack solution in the interest of time and cleanliness, plus it’s flavorful.)
- There are six cities in the U.S. named Peanut: Peanut, California; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Pennsylvania, Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut West Virginia.
How do you like your peanuts?
- Women and children prefer creamy, while most men opt for chunky. Click here for a creamy peanut butter smoothie recipe.
- People living on the East Coast prefer creamy peanut butter, while those on the West Coast prefer the crunchy style.
- Sixty percent of consumers prefer creamy peanut butter over crunchy.
- Peanut butter is the leading use of peanuts in the USA.
- “Boiled peanuts” are considered a delicacy in the peanut growing areas of the South. Freshly harvested peanuts are boiled in supersaturated salt water until they are of a soft bean like texture. They are most frequently enjoyed at the end of the day with a favorite beverage.
- Peanuts have more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any nut.
- Peanuts and peanut butter contain over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients.
- Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free.
- Rumor says that there’s enough mental stimulation in one peanut to produce 30 minutes of serious thinking. That may or may not be true, but peanuts are a good source of protein and the B vitamins, nutrients that help prevent “brain fatigue.”
- Peanut oil is valued as premium cooking oil by cooks and chefs worldwide. Tasteless and odorless, peanut oil doesn’t transfer food flavors, has a very high smoke point (440 to 470† F.) and is high in the desirable mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
- Specially processed defatted peanuts may be ground into a flour for use in making high protein foods and beverages-, may be granulated and added to breakfast or diet bars to raise the protein levels; or may be flavored to taste like other foods.
- One of the many great advantages of peanuts and peanut butter is long shelf life. If held at average ambient temperature without great change in heat or humidity, peanuts and peanut butter can be safely stored for several months. Peanuts contain no cholesterol. Recent studies show that the combination of monounsaturates and polyunsaturates such as are found in peanuts may be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
In our Language
- Goober—a nickname for peanuts—comes from “nguba”, the Congo language name for peanut.
- There are over 700 known phobias. Archibutyrophobia (pronounced A’-ra-kid-bu-ti-ro-pho-bi-a) is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.
- “Peanut Gallery” became popular in the late 19th century and referred to the rear or uppermost seats in a theater, which were also the cheapest seats. People seated in such a gallery were able to throw peanuts, a common food at theaters, at those seated below them. It also applied to the first row of seats in a movie theater, for the occupants of those seats could throw peanuts at the stage, stating their displeasure with the performance.
- Peanuts are sometimes called “ground nuts” or “ground peas” because peanuts are actually formed under the ground.
- Everybody loves peanuts; so much so, that there’s a saying: “Will power is the ability to eat one peanut!”
Published: September 26, 2014