London based writer. Freelancer for hire (Published in Grazia, Vice, Elle, and others)
You know you can give it to dogs and that it’s good for your boobs, right?
It’s national peanut butter day. Probably the most important day of the year, aside from National Carrot Cake (Feb 3rd), National Women Physicians Day (also Feb 3rd) and National Day The Music Died Day (Look, Feb 3rd is a big day OK).
So amid all the serious news, let’s take a moment to appreciate the joys of peanut butter. Crunchy, smooth, healthy, full of so much salt you have to drink seven glasses of water immediately afterwards, if you’re not into peanut butter then this is not a place for you. Why did you click on this article? Why would you do that to yourself? Go google something about apple pie or something.
For everyone else – here are 12 things you never knew about your favourite nutty spread:
Peanuts aren’t nuts
Nope, unlike their close friends Cashew and Wal, the peanut is actually a legume. And, for anyone interested, a legume is a simple, dry fruit contained within a shed or a pod – like a bean. Or a pea. So why are peanuts called peanuts? Nobody knows, but we guess pealegume didn’t have the same ring to it… or people presumed they were nuts, named them, then found out the truth. It makes sense: they are sort of like peas but, er, nuts.
There are 540 peanuts in a jar of peanut butter
That is a serious amount of legumes, which is why you probably shouldn’t scarf down the whole jar. It also varies between crunchy and smooth, with a little more in smooth peanut butter jars – but there are no actual figures. Maybe scientists should stop fannying around finding cures to diseases and concentrate on this highly important area of science instead. We are 100% joking, please don’t do this.
Peanut butter was probably invented in Maccu Picchu
Researchers can’t be sure, but they reckon that peanuts were first mashed into butter by the Aztecs – and peanuts themselves were probably first harvested in Brazil and Peru. By the time the Spanish settled, they’d already spread right up to Mexico. However, you didn’t find Aztec peanut butter in neat little glass jars, obviously. The modern day version of peanut butter wasn’t introduced until 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
You can buy peanut butter cups larger than your head
Ah, America. Just look at how they do their Reese’s peanut butter cups. Absolute perfection.
Oh and, additional fun fact: the biggest peanut butter cup ever made weighed in at 230 pounds and was made by chocolate extraordinaire’s the Village Chocolate Shoppe. This is erring on the side of terrifying.
Peanut butter was used for medical reasons
In 1890, a doctor from St. Louis called Dr Ambrose Straub asked a food products company to make a protein substitute for toothless people who couldn’t chew meat. And so, peanut butter as we know it today, was created. But while George A. Bayle Jr’s processed ground peanuts certainly helped provide protein to the toothless, all the way through the 1800s peanut butter was just seen as food for livestock, until eventually becoming an integral part of the Armed Force rations among the US army in both world wars. Then it basically exploded all across the western world, becoming a delicacy in the UK soon after.
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