Food has always been a big part of American culture. Peanut butter is one of those foods that have been around for a long time and is loved by many. It’s perfect for school lunches, or as an afternoon snack. But how did peanut butter come about?
Peanut butter was first created in the late 1800s by Marcellus Gilmore Edson, a Canadian chemist. He was trying to find a way to create a food that would be easy to digest for people who had trouble chewing. At the time, most people ate their food cooked or raw, so this was a new concept. Edson’s peanut butter was originally sold as a paste in drugstores, to be used as medication for people with digestive issues.
But have you ever wondered how peanut butter came about? And how did it become so popular?
Peanut butter actually dates back to Aztec times. The Aztecs mashed roasted peanuts into a paste, somewhat different from what we know of as peanut butter today.
But many people have been credited with the title of peanut-butter-inventor, among them George Washington Carver. However, he did not invent peanut butter; instead he promoted more than 300 uses for peanuts, among other crops such as soy beans and sweet potatoes.
The actual invention of peanut butter, its process of manufacture and the machinery used to make it, can be credited to at least three people. In 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada patented peanut paste, the finished product from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces.
In 1895 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the creator of Kellogg’s cereal) patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts. He marketed it as a healthy protein substitute for patients without teeth.
In 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri, patented a peanut-butter-making machine. In 1922, chemist Joseph Rosefield invented a process for making smooth peanut butter that kept the oil from separating by using partially hydrogenated oil.
In 1928 he licensed his invention to the company that created Peter Pan peanut butter. And in 1932 he began producing his own peanut butter under the name Skippy.
- Peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes grown underground.
- The U.S. is the third largest producer of peanuts (Georgia and Texas are the two major peanut-producing states). China and India are the first and second largest producers, respectively.
- More than half of the American peanut crop goes into making peanut butter.
- U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Thomas Jefferson were peanut farmers.
- It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
- Americans eat around 700 million pounds of peanut butter per year (about 3 pounds per person).
- An average American child eats 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating from high school.
- Peanut Butter M&M Cookies are in my Top 5 favorite cookies!
Peanut Butter M&M Cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 1 large bag M&M candy
- Preheat oven to 400F degrees, Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of your sand mixer, combine the peanut butter, shortening and sugars. Beat until smooth then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Beat on high for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and mix for 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl again.
- In another bowl, sift together baking soda, flour and salt. In two parts, add that mixture to the mixing bowl on low speed. Increase speed and mix until combined.
- Next, add in your peanut butter, soda, flour, and salt. Mixing well.
- Mix in half of the M&Ms with the mixer on low speed.
- Chill dough for 1 hour.
- Once chilled, roll dough into 1- 2 in. balls and place them on prepared baking sheet.
- Press a few M&M's on top of each cookie.
- Bake for 8 minutes
- Let cool.
- Serve and enjoy!