November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, and here at Sweet Perfections, we are peanut butter lovers! Whether you eat peanut butter as a nutritional staple or to make your favorite desserts that much better (or both!), you are in good company. Last year, peanut consumption in this country was an average of seven and a half pounds per person – a record!
A BITE-SIZED HISTORY OF PEANUT BUTTER
Peanut butter has been popular throughout modern American history due to its cost-effectiveness and nutritional value. Dr. George Washington Carver became the father of the modern peanut industry by promoting it as an alternate crop to cotton; he is well known for the research bulletin "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption," first published in 1916. Around the same time, "Meatless Tuesdays" were started in an effort to ration meat during WWI, which boosted peanut popularity. That tradition is the root of the current trend of "Meatless Mondays."
SPREADING THE LOVE
Eating peanut butter is not only delicious, it is part of a healthy diet as well. Peanuts are frequently consumed instead of meat because they have a higher protein content than any other nut – almost 25% by weight. Additional perks are the fiber and healthy fats, which contribute to healthy blood cholesterol levels; the fiber also helps you stay full until your next meal.
PEANUT POINTERS: HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER
Have you ever thought of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with peanut butter you made yourself? According to Smithsonian Magazine, Good Housekeeping suggested making peanut butter with a meat grinder in 1896. Thankfully whipping up your own is very easy now that we have electric blenders. If you want to give it a try, keep these tips in mind:
- Use raw peanuts or ones that have been dry roasted; the antioxidant levels are higher than peanuts that have been roasted in oil.
- Don’t stop blending too soon. It may seem like a long time, but peanuts go through different stages during processing before achieving that beautifully creamy result.
- You can add a little oil for a more fluffy texture.
- If you have peanuts leftover, unshelled ones can keep in the fridge for up to nine months. Shelled peanuts will keep in the fridge for three months.
PEANUT POINTERS: COOKIES
Another iconic peanut butter recipe is cookies, which date back to the early 1930s when peanut butter was first listed as a cookie ingredient. When shaking up your cookie routine, remember:
- If you are using homemade peanut butter or another unsalted option, respect the salt in your recipe so your cookies don’t turn out too sweet. The natural sweetness of peanuts needs salt for balance.
- Speaking of other options, you could try all-natural peanut butter, which is what we use in our Keto Peanut Butter Cookies.
- Natural peanut butters produce slightly denser cookies, so they may take an extra minute or two in the oven.
From eating PB&J sandwiches to having peanut butter in breakfast, lunch, snacks, and desserts – and even sharing it with our furry friends in dog treats – peanut butter is a favorite part of our culinary life. Peanut butter lovers, this spoonful is for you!
Fresh from our oven to yours - happy baking!