The History of Peanut Butter

One of the most loved sweet spreads in the world today is peanut butter, this iconic spread comes in the bracket of love it or hate it. There seems to be a big divide between those that adore peanut butter and those that dislike it, not many people sit in the middle with indifference.

The History of Peanut Butter
The History of Peanut Butter

Since its inception, the humble peanut butter now comes in many kinds and forms, some people like the smooth version and others prefer the crunchy. It rather depends on personal taste and what you are going to do with it, but one of the favorite ways of eating it is by spreading it thickly on bread or toast topped with jelly. But who invented this culinary delight, and where did it come from? Believe it or not, the Aztecs had a version of peanut butter, they would roast peanuts and then make them into a sort of paste. Although nobody is around to vouch for the taste, it seems as though this concoction was far removed from the peanut butter that is recognized today.

The Inventors

Although George Carter from America is widely credited for inventing peanut butter, it was actually a Canadian who patented it. Marcellus Gilmore Edson developed a technique to roast peanuts between two hot plates in 1884, and one year later Dr John Kellogg patented another process for peanut butter this time from raw nuts. Of course, Dr Kellogg was also the founder of a highly successful cereal business which is famous throughout the world today. His marketing ploy for his new invention was that the peanut butter paste was a good and healthy source of protein for people with no teeth. Mr. Joseph Rosefield took peanut butter to another level when, in 1922, he found a way to make smooth peanut butter that retained some of its natural oils. Six years later he allowed the Peter Pan company to use his invention and licensed it to them. Then, in 1932, he decided to launch his own brand of smooth peanut butter which was called Skippy. In 1955 a big player entered the peanut butter market; Procter & Gamble introduced a product called Jif, which is today owned by the J.M Smucker corporation. In the huge Jif plant, over two hundred and fifty thousand jars of peanut butter are made each and every day, making it the largest peanut butter factory in the world.

Curious Nutty Facts

  • Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are a legume that grow underground.
  • India and China are the two largest producers of peanuts with the USA coming in third.
  • Amazingly 50% of all peanuts grown in the USA go into peanut butter production.
  • Every American eats on average three pounds of peanut butter annually.
  • One standard jar of peanut butter takes around 550 peanuts to complete the contents.
  • Two of the American presidents were peanut growers, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.

Peanut butter is today well known all over the world, its distinctive taste and smell make it such a unique product. No American school kid would be without a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their lunchbox, and that goes for many countries around the world.