Peanut butter

From Academic Kids

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Peanut Butter in jar

Peanut butter is a food product usually consisting of roasted and ground peanuts, usually salted and sometimes sweetened. It is commonly sold in grocery stores, but can be made at home. It is sometimes referred to by its abbreviation, "P.B." Many styles are available; the most popular are creamy (smooth) and crunchy, but honey-roasted, wholenut varieties and those mixed with chocolate can also be found. Creamy peanut butter is made by grinding all of the mixture very finely. The crunchier styles add larger pieces of peanut back into the creamy mixture after grinding.

Used in sandwiches (particularly the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich), candy (Reese's Pieces, for example), cookies and pastry, it is a good source of protein, and is popular with children. Elvis Presley made famous a version of the peanut butter sandwich with banana (either mashed or whole) that was grilled or fried, and may have contained bacon.

For people with peanut allergy, the concentration of nuts in peanut butter can cause fatal anaphylactic shock. The peanut is a member of the legume or pea (Pisum sativum) family, and thus individuals with peanut allergies may not be allergic to other types of nuts.

The peanut plant is susceptible to the ground mold which produces aflatoxin, and contamination in peanut butter is possible.



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Peanut butter is often eaten on toast

In 1890, George A. Bayle Jr., began to sell ground peanut paste as a protein supplement for people with no or bad teeth. In 1893, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg originated an early variety of peanut butter at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg, along with his brother, W.K. Kellogg, patented a process for making peanut butter in 1895, but it used steamed peanuts rather than roasted peanuts.

Contrary to popular belief, the renowned botanist, George Washington Carver, had no hand in inventing this food in addition to the numerous uses for the legume he developed. Peanut butter was sold in Australia by Edward Halsey for Sanitarium Health Food Company as early as 1898. Peanut butter was widely introduced in 1904 by C.H. Sumner at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (Saint Louis World's Fair) which also popularized the ice cream cone, hot dog and hamburger.

In 1922, Joseph L. Rosefield developed modern peanut butter by using finer grinding, hydrogenation, and a emulsifier to keep the oil from separating. This created a creamy texture unlike the earlier peanut butter described as gritty, or pasty. He received a patent for stable peanut butter which had a shelf-life of up to a year.

Swift & Company adopted the technology for their E.K Pond peanut butter which they had introduced somewhat earlier in 1920. In 1928 they changed the name to "Peter Pan". Peter Pan was originally packaged in a tin can with a turn key and re-closable lid but switched to glass during World War II. In 1932, Rosefield left that company. He formed the Rosefield Packing Co. and began selling "Skippy" peanut butter on February 1, 1933.

Peanut butter became a very profitable business in the United States. Currently, the best-selling American brand is Jif, a product introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1958. Jif is now made by the J.M Smucker Company. The oldest surviving US brand is Krema peanut butter, first sold in 1908. Australian health food company Sanitarium Health Food Company, has been making commercial peanut butter for over 100 years.

Competing nut butters include almond, cashew, and hazelnut butters.

Modern peanut butter production

Nearly half of the U.S. peanut production went to peanut butter factories in 2001. This makes the U.S. the world's largest peanut butter supplier and consumer. Peanuts grown in other countries are usually harvested for cooking oil.

There are many types of peanuts. Small-seed peanuts are rich in oil and usually grown for peanut butter and oil. In the U.S., Runner Types and Spanish Types are two families of peanuts grown in the "American South" or "Deep South" states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The first three states produce 60% of the peanuts that are used in peanut butter.

After harvest, peanuts are sent to factories for inspection. The inspected peanuts are roasted in ovens. After roasting, they are rapidly cooled by air to stop cooking. This helps to retain its color and oil contents.

The cooked peanuts are then rubbed between rubber belts to remove the outer skin. The kernels are split with the hearts removed and then cleaned and sorted. Next, the peanuts are sent to the grinder.

The peanuts are ground twice: pulverized to small bits first, then ground with salt, sweetener and sometimes a stabilizer to keep oil and water from separation. So-called "old-fashioned" or "natural" peanut butter does not contain a stabilizer. These products may need some stirring before use.

In the United States, peanut butter must contain a minimum of 90% peanuts, per US food laws. Artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and preservatives are not allowed. Some brands may add salt and sugar (hidden as dextrose, sucrose or fructose on the label) to suit the taste of the average consumer, while other brands offer peanut butter without such additives for those that prefer the unadulterated peanut taste.

Trans fat issues

Certain brands of peanut butter may contain a small amount of hydrogenated vegetable oils that is rich in trans fatty acids. Such acids are thought to be a cause of atherosclerosis leading to such maladies as coronary heart disease and stroke.


Peanut butter makes a superior mouse trap bait compared to meat or cheese. Not only do mice prefer it to cheese, but its sticky texture reduces the mouse's ability to steal the bait and not get caught. For people who like animals, peanut butter is also a good food for squirrels.

On May 15, 1963, U.S. astronaut Gordon Cooper ate some bite-sized peanut butter sandwiches in the last and longest Mercury mission. He carried 2,369 kcal (9,919 kJ) of food at launch and consumed only 696 kcal (2,914 kJ). He did not like the cubed food. His flight lasted 34 hours, 19 minutes and 49 seconds.

In 2002, an intentionally irreverent pseudo-scientific paper was published [1] ( establishing that "Peanut Butter has no effect on the rotation of the Earth". (See also Ig Nobel Prize)

Reference peanut butters

As of September 2004, the most expensive peanut butter on the market is a $532 limited item which you can mail-order from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. This peanut butter (SRM 2387) is a set of three 6 oz (170 g) jars which will expire on December 31, 2009.

This piece of reference material has been analyzed with state-of-the-art measurement methods to provide values for the amount of fatty acids, 18 individual amino acids (protein), vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, other nutrients and mold-produced carcinogenic aflatoxins. Food manufacturers can use it to validate production and quality control procedures as well as ensure accurate labeling of product content. It can also be used to evaluate allergen test kits.

See also

External links

de:Erdnussbutter it:Burro di arachidi nl:Pindakaas ja:ピーナッツバター


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