Peanut butter is a childhood staple but how
was it created? Is there really butter in peanut butter?
Here are some answers from
Virginia Carolina Peanuts.
There are many claims about where and when peanut butter was
invented ....... Africans ground peanuts into stews as early
as the 15th century; the Chinese have crushed peanuts into
creamy sauces for centuries; Civil War soldiers dined on
"peanut porridge" .......... but these uses bear little
similarity to the peanut butter we know today
In 1890, an unknown St. Louis physician encouraged the
owner of a food products company, George A. Bayle, Jr., to
process and package ground peanut paste as a nutritious
protein substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn't
chew meat. The physician apparently had experimented by
grinding peanuts in his hand-crank kitchen meat grinder. Bayle
mechanized the process and began selling peanut butter out of
barrels for about 6 cents per pound.
At about the same time, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in Battle
Creek, Michigan began experimenting with peanuts as a
vegetarian source of protein for his patients. His brother
soon opened a nut company which sold this peanut butter, plus
other foods, to local grocery stores.
Kellogg patent for 'Process of Preparing Nut Meal' in 1895
described "a pasty adhesive substance that is for convenience
of distinction termed 'nut butter ...... The moist and brown
product is soft and pasty like butter and is used as a
substitute for butter, either for table use or for shortening
in cooking. It is in fact a good substitute for animal fats.
It has a slightly nutty flavor and is palatably agreeable,
besides being far more nutritious than butter."
The Kelloggs steamed (rather than roasted) their peanuts
producing a pasty concoction that never became very popular.
One of their employees, Joseph Lambert, had worked with the
Kelloggs to develop food processing equipment. He began
selling his own hand-operated peanut butter grinders in 1896.
Three years later, his wife Almeeta published the first nut
cookbook, "The Complete Guide to Nut Cookery."
In 1903 Dr. George Washington Carver began his research
into peanuts at Tuskeegee Institute-research that would lead
him to discover improvements in horticulture and the
development of more than 300 uses for peanuts (including shoe
polish and shaving cream). His first publication in 1916
introduced Americans to 105 peanut recipes, from peanut soup
to coffee. For his work in promoting its cultivation and
consumption, Carver is considered to be the father of the
The world was first introduced to peanut butter at the
Universal Exposition of 1904 in St. Louis, when C.H. Sumner
sold $705.11 of the treat at his concession stand.
butter's popularity soon spread. Krema Products Company in
Columbus, Ohio, began selling peanut butter in 1908.
Peanut butter was first sold in tin cans, but when the
demand for metal skyrocketed during the first World War,
manufacturers switched to glass jars.
Beginning in 1922, Joseph L. Rosefield began selling a
number of different brands of peanut butter in Alameda,
California. These peanut butters were "churned" like butter
and therefore smoother than the gritty peanut butters of the
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