I love peanut butter. I think a pantry with peanut butter and cheese is virtually complete. That could mean my little sister who called me “Marg-RAT” when we were kids knew my alter ego.
I like it so much that my older sister gave me a Skippy peanut butter metal pail for my birthday when I was a teen. And I was goofy enough to love it and carry it, banging and denting all the way down my high school hallway.
One more thing I like about Bob? He loves peanut butter at least as much as I do! I haven’t known him to go to bed without having eaten a PB & J sandwich. The average American child eats 1500 peanut butter sandwiches before reaching the age of 18; Bob might have been above average in that department. Americans eat an average of 3 lbs per person a year; that adds up to 700 million lbs.
That’s a good thing since peanut butter contains many hard-to-get nutrients that have various roles in metabolism and health. People who eat peanuts tend to take in more key nutrients critical to health. In more than 15,000 people who consumed peanuts and peanut products, it was found that levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber were higher than those who did not consume peanuts. Since peanuts provide antioxidant properties, peanut butter eaters get great tasting immune boosts with every sandwich.
Peanuts are high in arginine, an amino acid that helps expand blood vessels and can decrease blood pressure and resveratrol, also found in grapes and wine, which improves longevity and performance and reduces inflammation.
Peanuts have significant levels of phytosterols. Phytosterols are well known for their ability to reduce cholesterol and new research is showing that they are cancer-preventative. Flavonoids are a class of compounds also found in peanuts that reduce inflammation and inhibit platelets from sticking to arteries. Considering how many bad habits I have or have had to delete from my life, peanut butter is a surprisingly great habit.
The Aztecs were the first to make and eat peanut butter in 950 B.C.; one of the peanut foods invented by Dr. George Washington Carver was similar to peanut butter. But the first patent went to the Kellogg brothers of Battle Creek, MI, coincidently, the cereal guys. Early peanut butter was gritty, dry, and not a commercial success until 1928 when a shelf stable peanut butter was developed, patented, and adopted by the Peter Pan company.
Today’s peanut butter has to contain 90% peanuts by law with the other 10% being sugar, salt, and emulsifier. The emulsifier aids in trapping the peanut oil that was released by the grinding. To make chunky peanut butter, peanut granules are added to the creamy peanut butter.
Besides being an incredibly healthy and tasty food, peanut butter can also be used for many other purposes.
- Peanut butter tastes great to everything from mice (use it in traps unless you are offering treats to your pet rodent) or deer. Some hunters put it on a PVC pipe that goes through the bottom of the deer feeder. When the deer eat the PB, the grain comes out.
- If you dislike the smell of fish, put a teaspoon of PB in the grease after you fry the last batch and stir it around for a bit. It absorbs the fishy smell.
- PB will get gum out of a child’s hair. It will also get gum off the couch or the carpet if you have a wild gum chewing kid or an adult who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.
- You can sub in PB for butter in recipes.
- PB will get the residual glue from price tags on glassware.
You can clean leather upholstery with peanut butter.
My personal favorite use for peanut butter other than in sandwiches is in cookies! I’ve found a great peanut butter cookie recipe that uses agave nectar and which might also work with mesquite syrup (which I have plenty of, thanks to Bob’s unusually great mesquite bean harvest).
Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup flour
½ cup butter
½ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup + 2 teaspoons agave nectar (mesquite syrup?)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
First, mix butter, peanut butter, vanilla extract, agave, and egg until smooth and fluffy. Then, add flour and baking powder to the liquid mixture and let it set for a couple of minutes. Beat the mixture well. Make small balls (one teaspoonful) out of the dough. Place them on a greased baking sheet. Flatten them with fork tines. Bake the cookies at 400° F for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure that the cookies are not over baked. Remove them from the oven and store in a sealed container.