What Is the Origin of Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter has gone through many different processes to become what we know today as the delicious spread that so many children and adults love to eat.

It first received a U.S. patent in 1884 by Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Quebec. Edson discovered that roasted peanuts could be placed between two heated surfaces and they turned into the texture of butter.

Not long after that, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg began making peanut butter from raw peanuts. The purpose of his invention was to provide a protein source for patients without teeth.

The peanut butter machine was patented in 1903 after its invention by Dr. Ambrose Straub.

Making peanut butter smooth

The chemist Joseph Rosefield found a way to make peanut butter smooth with oil that did not separate. This partially hydrogenated oil did not require the stirring of peanut butter each time it was eaten because it stayed smooth.

He licensed his smooth peanut butter to the company that started producing Peter Pan peanut butter. In 1932, he produced his own spread under the name of Skippy.

Peanut crops and recipes

George Washington Carver was a scientist, inventor and educator who found ways for farmers to grow crops other than cotton. He promoted the growth of peanuts in the South by encouraging farmers to rotate crops after the soil was depleted of nitrogen from years of cotton production.

Carver suggested that crops such as peanuts and other legumes would replenish the nitrogen in the soil, and this practice was adopted. He created more than 100 recipes using peanuts, which helped to promote the use of peanut butter. He also invented many products that originate from peanuts, such as plastic, nitroglycerin, cosmetics and more.

Peanut butter production today

According to Euromonitor International, the most popular peanut butters on the market today are Jif and Skippy. Jif is owned by J.M. Smucker Company and has about 37 percent of the U.S. peanut butter market. Skippy is second with about 17 percent of the market.

Skippy has manufacturing plants in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Weifang, China. According to The Huffington Post, there are 11 variations of Skippy in the U.S. These include low-fat and natural peanut butters. Skippy is the fastest growing manufacturer of natural peanut butter, a subcategory of the main product.

According to the National Peanut Board, most people in the U.S. eat more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut products each year. Peanut butter is big business in the country, and the U.S. produces more than 2.3 million metric tons of peanuts annually. China and India produce even more than the U.S.

About 90 percent of U.S. households eat peanut butter, but some people have allergies to peanuts. Peanut allergy statistics are conflicting, but AAAAI reports that more than 3 million people in the U.S. have either peanut allergies or allergies to tree nuts.

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