Peanuts often take a bad rap, especially when so many of us substitute the word “nothing” with the word, “peanuts.” Then there are peanuts’ so-close associations with kid food, pigeon food, circuses and elephants. Peanut butter, however, finds more sophisticated places in our at-home kitchens these days.
Once roasted and crushed peanuts become peanut butter, and North Americans consume over 1.5 billion pounds of it each year. People on the U.S. west coast are said to purchase more chunky peanut butter, while east coasters tend to purchase more smooth peanut butters. Either peanut butter is also very popular in the UK, Netherlands, Australia, Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Many early tribes and civilizations have discovered for themselves peanuts, once mashed or ground well, become a smooth, spreadable substance. It is believed the first people to do this were in the country of Bolivia in South America around 950 BCE. The growing of peanuts gradually spread to Africa, then Spain who traded some to early colonists in Virginia and North Carolina in the early 1800s.
The peanut plant (as opposed to tree nuts) blooms above ground. These blooms then become pointed tendrils and pierce the ground, maturing about two-inches beneath the soil’s surface.
Peanut butter is rich in potassium, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamins B6 and E. Additionally, peanut better contains zero cholesterol and affords a goodly amount of heart-healthy, mono-unsaturated fats.
There are a great number of people who are severely allergic to peanuts. For this reason, never serve peanuts, or dishes containing peanut butter, to strangers without announcing peanuts as an ingredient.
Peanut butter is great in/on:
- African peanut soup
- Bananas, apples
- Breads, crackers
- Indian curries/chutneys
- Jam/Marmite, Vegemite
- Thai satay sauces
The websites below contain recipes calling for peanut butter.