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National Peanut Butter Day

Today we celebrate peanut butter, a food that is a blend of ground shelled peanuts, vegetable oil (usually hydrogenated), and a little bit of salt. Additives are often added to keep the oil from separating, and to make the peanut butter creamier; sugar is often added as well. However, natural peanut butter only contains peanuts and an oil—often peanut oil. Natural peanut butter must be refrigerated after opening and can last about six months; other peanut butter does not need to be refrigerated and also can last about six months. Peanut butter is sold smooth or chunky, smooth being the most popular type. A lot of peanuts are used to make one jar of peanut butter—about 850 peanuts for an 18-ounce jar! The reduced-fat version only has 60% of the peanuts as the regular, which are replaced with maltodextrin and soy protein. The calorie count is the same, but there is just less fat. Besides being high in fat, peanut butter contains a decent amount of iron, niacin, and protein. Peanut butter is so popular that more than half of all peanuts end up being used to make it.

Peanut butter was developed in 1890 by a St. Louis physician, as a protein substitute for those with poor teeth. George A. Bayle Jr. mechanized the creation and began selling it. In 1903, a patent was given to Ambrose W. Straub for a peanut butter machine. At the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, peanut butter was promoted as a health food. In 1922, L. Rosefield of Rosefield Packing Co. in Alameda, California, found a way to prevent the separation and spoilage of peanut butter. He began marketing his creation as Skippy in 1932. Sliced bread was invented in 1928. It was around the early 1930s when peanut butter became a favorite sandwich spread, especially with children, and began being paired with grape jelly to make peanut butter and jelly—or PB&J—sandwiches.

How to Observe National Peanut Butter Day

Celebrate the day by eating peanut butter. Have it on crackers or apple slices. Make ants on a log, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter fudge, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You could even make one of Elvis Presley's favorites, a peanut butter and banana sandwich. There are many other recipes you could try as well. Those who really love peanut butter could make some.

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