Peanut Butter is for Lovers

(note: I just found this picture by googling “peanut butter lovers month” and it appears to belong to a blog dedicated to all things chocolate and peanut butter…not sure why I’ve never seen it before…you should check it out, just click the picture)

November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. November 4th is actually the anniversary for the first patent for peanut butter, made by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1895.  If you know me, you probably know that I loooove peanut butter.  I think I fell in love at first bite of my first pb&j, probably made by my dad when I was really young.  I’ve found that peanut butter goes well with many things, both in sweet and savory foods.  For example, peanut butter is great with apples, celery or carrots, paired with chocolate, or as peanut sauce on anything in Thai dishes.

Here are some fun facts about peanut butter:

  • Peanuts are not actually nuts at all! They are legumes – like beans, peas and lentils.
  • Americans eat three pounds of peanut butter per person every year – enough PB to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon!
  • One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Two former U.S. Presidents were peanut farmers: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • March is National Peanut Month; November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month.
  • The peanut plant is unusual because it flowers above the ground, but fruits below the ground.
  • Runner peanuts are preferred for peanut butter, and are grown primarily in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.
  • Peanut shells are used to make kitty litter, wallboard, fireplace logs, paper and animal feed, and are sometimes used as fuel for power plants.
  • Africans ground peanuts into stews as early as the 1400s; Chinese have crushed peanuts into creamy sauces for centuries; and Civil War soldiers dined on “peanut porridge.”
  • Facts from:

And here’s some great news I bet you didn’t know about pb:

  • Peanut butter made aid in reducing risk of coronary death.  A study found that people who eat nuts 4 times a week have 37% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than those who seldom or never eat nuts.  Nuts lower LDL cholesterol (bad kind) while maintaining HDL (good kind) (source)
  • PB is full of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, and magnesium.
  • Peanut butter is a good source of iron and helps maintain good circulation.
  • PB contains resveratrol, an antioxidant also found in red wine, and is linked with lower levels of heart disease, cancer and also acts as an anti-inflammatory (source)

Peanut butter is a healthy addition to any diet when consumed in moderation.  I have come to prefer natural peanut butter, I think it has a stronger peanut-y flavor.  It also doesn’t have hydrogenated oil or extra preservatives which is always better than the alternative. Skippy makes a natural version that does not need to be refrigerated and/or stirred like most natural varieties.  Peanut butter is high in calories, so be careful not to eat it mindlessly (even though its easy).  If you want to stretch a serving of peanut butter farther I recommend mixing it in with some plain or vanilla yogurt.  It makes a great dip for fruit or to just eat straight.  Sprinkle a little cinnamon in for an extra kick.

Some of my favorite peanut butter recipes:

Unfortunately, drought this summer have caused a shortage in peanuts so prices of peanut butter are predicted to increase this month so hurry and stock up before prices rise!  Read more about it here.