Believe it or not, your favourite nutty spread has its own day of recognition! Today millions of fans worldwide are celebrating National Peanut Butter Day and spreading the love – literally. #NationalPeanutButterDay is the current trending topic on Twitter; food bloggers everywhere are posting with sticky, salty fingers; and popular manufacturers, such as Kraft, Skippy, Adams, Jif, and Peter Pan, are wallowing in their ooey-gooey success. And of course, we’re all enjoying the smooth, crunchy, natural, organic, light, whipped, and extra creamy varieties in our favourite ways.
Lots of us enjoy it on bread, crackers, Oreo cookies, bananas or apples, in oatmeal, in a spicy stir-fry sauce, blended in a smoothie, with jam or jelly, smeared on chocolate bars, even right off a spoon. Some of us eccentrics, on the other hand, like to partner it with unlikely things like pretzels, ginger snaps, pickles, ice cream, cornbread, yogurt, bacon, bologna, and cheese. Some of us make our own peanut butters, maybe adding a bit of cinnamon, honey, or cocoa.
Peanut allergies are much more common these days, it seems, so lots of us explore alternatives, like soy nut butter or a similar spread made with split peas. Even those of us who aren’t allergic to peanuts, but just love nuts in general, dip into butters of other varieties: hazelnut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, even hemp seed.
However we enjoy it, peanut butter gives us a whole whack of health benefits. Its protein and carbohydrate content gives us energy that is released gradually during digestion, sustaining us longer than simple carb alternatives. It is also a source of niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, antioxidants, vitamin E, and oleic acids – all of which are vital to bodily function and maintenance. The fatty acids are what allow our bodies to absorb these essential nutrients, and the monounsaturated fats are proven to reduce LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. The key to taking advantage of these benefits is to enjoy peanut butter in moderation – it’s also quite high in calories.
Some interesting PB facts:
- Peanuts have been ground into butter since the age of the Aztecs, but PB’s marketable production started in 1884 with Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson’s method of milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces.
- Later on, peanut butter was introduced by Dr. Ambrose Straub as a source of protein for people without teeth.
- Soldiers in WWII were given peanut butter for protein in their rations when meat became to expensive. Their slang term for the spread was “monkey butter”.
- One can catch more mice in a mousetrap with peanut butter than with cheese.
- Plumpy’nut is a peanut butter-based food used to fight malnutrition in famine stricken countries. A single pack contains 500 calories, can be stored unrefrigerated for 2 years, and requires no cooking or preparation.
- Boscul glasses, which are glass peanut butter jars from the fifties, are highly-sought after collector’s items.
- Peanuts are actually legumes, not nots – they grow from roots and stems underground.
- US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Thomas Jefferson were originally peanut farmers.
Here’s a list of lesser-known but incredibly tasty peanut butter companies:
- The Peanut Butter Co
- Barney Butter
- Nuts To You
- Smart Balance
- Wild Squirrel
- Justin’s Nut Butter
- Once Again Nut Butter
- Kettle Valley
- Chia Charger
- Naturally Nutty
- Whole Earth