You might like peanut butter in candy, cookies, as a sandwich, or straight from the jar, January 24th is your day to celebrate your favorite form of Peanut Butter. Smooth or crunchy, January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day.
But, where did peanut butter come from? Who invented it? Let us find out. Some of the answers may surprise you. And then, how about a few recipes for our favorite food?
A Little History of the Peanut and Peanut Butter
Believe it or not peanut butter was not invented by Dr George Washington Carver. Let us go back in time a bit. Peanuts can be traced back as far as 950 BC and are originally from South America. The Incas used peanuts and made them into a paste-like substance.
Peanuts were transported from South America to Africa by early explorers of the new world. Through trade they were introduced to Spain. The Spanish used them in trade with their American colonies. Peanuts were not commercially grown as a crop until around 1818 in North Carolina and later in Virginia about the early to mid 1840's.
Dr George Washington Carver comes into the peanut picture during his research to assist the South's economy after the American Civil War. Devastated by the war and years of cotton and tobacco farming the soil had become depleted. Dr Carver was able to convince southern farmers to follow his suggestions to plant crops other than cotton and tobacco. By planting peanuts and other crops the region was able to begin to recover economically.
Dr Carver did discover three hundred uses for peanuts. Peanut butter was just one of those uses. He began encouraging the many uses of peanut products including, peanut butter, in 1880. But, Dr Carver did not patent peanut butter because he believed food products were gifts from God.
A patent was not issued for peanut butter until 1895. The patent was issued to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg for the "Process of Preparing Nut Meal". His nut meal used peanuts. Dr Kellogg had been serving peanut butter to his patients at his Battle Creek Sanitarium.
Joseph Lambert, who worked for Dr. Kellogg, created and began selling his own hand-operated peanut butter grinder in 1896. The first nut cookbook was published in 1899 by his wife, Almeta Lambert and was called "The Complete Guide to Nut Cookery".
A physician in St Louis, Dr. Ambrose Straub, used peanut butter as a method for providing toothless elderly with protein. He invented and patented a peanut butter making machine in 1903.