Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nuts! I almost missed it!

Okay it's the end of March and I just learned that March is National Peanut Month! According to "National Peanut Month had its beginnings as National Peanut Week in 1941. It was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1974."

They also list these peanut butter facts;;
- Peanuts are not actually nuts at all! They are legumes, like beans, peas and lentils.
Americans eat 3 pounds of peanut butter per person every year. That's about 700 million pounds, or enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon!
- Peanuts may be a favorite food, but we've found many uses for their shells too! You might find peanut shells in kitty litter, wallboard, fireplace logs, paper, animal feed and sometimes as fuel for power plants!
- Two peanut farmers have been elected President of the United States: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
- One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.

Peanut Butter History
"There are many claims about the origin of peanut butter. Africans ground peanuts into stews as early as the 15th century. The Chinese have crushed peanuts into creamy sauces for centuries. Civil War soldiers dined on 'peanut porridge.' These uses, however, bore little resemblance to peanut butter as it is known today.
In 1890, an unknown St. Louis physician supposedly encouraged the owner of a food products company, George A. Bayle Jr., to process and package ground peanut paste as a nutritious protein substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn't chew meat. The physician apparently had experimented by grinding peanuts in his hand-cranked meat grinder. Bayle mechanized the process and began selling peanut butter out of barrels for about 6¢ per pound."

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan also patented a peanut butter around the same time but his was not as tasty as he steamed the nuts rather than roasting them before grinding them.

In 1922, Joseph L. Rosefield started selling peanut butter in California. It was churned like butter and therefore smoother than other brands of the time. He also received the first patent for a shelf-stable peanut butter which would stay fresh for up to a year as the oil didn't separate from the peanut butter. Swift & Company (which became Peter Pan in 1928) adopted this process for its E.K. Pond peanut butter. In 1932, after a dispute with Peter Pan, Rosefield began producing peanut butter under the Skippy label the following year and created the first crunchy style peanut butter two years later by adding chopped peanuts into creamy peanut butter at the end of the manufacturing process. Thank you Mr. Rosefield!!

Procter & Gamble entered the market in 1955 and their brand "Jif" is the #1 seller in the USA. Canada's #1 seller is Kraft. Peanut butter is a popular seller in many countries around the world and used in a myriad of recipes.

I LOVE peanut butter as long as it's the crunchy variety. I have recipes for: "Thai Chicken Stew", "Thai Pizza Sauce", "PB Brownies", "PB Ice Cream", PB & Chocolate Chip Muffins", and MANY cookie and dessert recipes. I sprinkle blanched salted peanuts on stir fries and even on creamy cole slaw.

PB is a staple in my kitchen and I go through several 1 kg. jars of Skippy Crunchy in a year. Some of my favourite ways to eat it include; on fresh bread or buns; toasted raisin bread; toasted PB and tomato sandwich (don't knock it till you've tried it - especially with fresh locally grown or "on the vine" varieties); spread on celery stalks or sliced apple.

Last Sunday I told you that one of my guilty pleasures was to eat PB and Chocolate chips together. Here is another of my favourites. Take an Eggo Waffle (I like the Fibre Plus) and place a chocolate chip in each of the little indentations. Toast in a toaster oven (don't even think about trying in a stand up toaster!) then spread peanut butter on top and savour the flavour of each mouthful!!!

I'm making myself hungry just writing about it! So have some Peanut Butter in whatever way you prefer or try something new. Be a nut and celebrate the peanut!



leelu said...

I just read this to my husband, a big PB eater! (He lol'd at the waffle part.) Care to share your recipes? The muffins and Thai stew sound amazing! :)

dnsyl57 said...

I definitely plan on sharing those recipes in the next two or three weeks. I've already written specific posts for the next few days and am switching to 3 or 4 posts/week after Thursday April 3 - which will be my 50th straight post. I've been neglecting other things to write and have to catch up on non-computer stuff before summer hits.

IF you can't wait a couple weeks please feel free to email me at the address on the comments page and I will send the recipes to you directly. In the meantime tell your husband to eat his eggos!

BTW - what else could those little indentations POSSIBLY be for except chocolate chips??? I also do that trick and instead of PB, put homemade ice cream and fresh fruit on the top! YUUUMMMY!!!