Picking Peanut Butter: 540 Peanuts Per Jar

“Jif or Skippy?”  I was asked as I left the Y after my yoga class, and offered to see if I could tell the difference. I knew I couldn’t so just took one sample of the peanut butter smeared on an apple slice, happy to have a post-exercise snack. 

November is National Peanut Butter Lovers Month and the Y was promoting peanut butter as part of its healthy eating campaign.

As I walked out, licking the sticky remains from the roof of my mouth, I thought about peanut butter.  In elementary school, peanut butter and jam, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, or  peanut butter and banana sandwiches filled my lunch box about once a week. Some friends ate it everyday; it remains an inexpensive family staple. Loaded with with protein, vitamins and minerals, easy to make and unlikely to spoil, it’s become a favorite refueling food while cycling. One of my cycling friends considers pb&j sandwiches as crucial to a ride as a spare inner tube and portable pump.

One of my sons makes peanut butter and onion sandwiches for backpacking. I guess they keep bears away. I love peanut butter sates, peanut butter cookies, and Reeses Cups.

Recipes abound; as do choices- crunchy, smooth, salt-free, low sugar and so on. Buying peanut butter has become almost as difficult as selecting breakfast cereal.

What concerns me, are nut allergies.

As a teacher, I began to see the prevalence of peanut allergies. A colleague of mine, a colon cancer survivor, eats peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day- it’s the only “safe” food she can eat. Yet she can’t work in one of the local elementary schools because the principal is allergic and has banned nut products. As a kid, I never heard of nut allergies. What happened, I wondered, that made this popular lunchbox item potentially dangerous and even fatal?

There’s no one answer. Genetics, pre-mature exposure to nut-based products in infancy, processed foods, environmental factors like pollution, vaccinations, over sanitizing that reduces immune systems are all mentioned in the research. While peanut and other nut allergies are real- and if it’s your child it’s an enormous worry, the consensus seems that nut-free zones aren’t as necessary as educating teachers and parents on how to respond to an allergic attack.

In the meantime, peanuts and peanut butter remain part of Americana. A trivia game could be designed around them. Here are some fun facts:

  •   It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Peanut butter was first introduced to the USA in 1904 at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis by C.H. Sumner, who sold $705.11 of the “new treat” at his concession stand.
  • The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school.
  • Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.

(http://www.nationalpeanutboard.org/classroom-funfacts.php)

And if other November holidays keep you too busy to celebrate this one, don’t fret.  There are other peanut celebrations:
January 24 – National Peanut Butter Day
March – National Peanut Month
March  1 National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
March 8 – National Peanut Cluster Day
April 2 – National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
May 18 – I love Reese’s Day
June 12 – National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
September 13 – National Peanut Day

Mark your  2012 calendars, order your greeting cards, find recipes!   (Chase’s Calendar of Events)

Remember this song: “Peanut Butter and Jelly” –  p003.html

My personal preference: crunchy, organic on grainy bread with blueberry jam or orange marmalade.  What’s yours?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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7 Responses to Picking Peanut Butter: 540 Peanuts Per Jar

  1. Gilla says:

    Love to read your blogs…keep them coming…by the way, just read this week that peanut butter prices are going way up due to a poor crop…

    Like

  2. Leah says:

    Wow, I had no idea peanuts had so many days dedicated to them. It is interesting how there is such a prevalence of peanut allergies now. I do wonder if it has to do with holding mothers back from eating peanuts until the kids are so much older. And I think the way our food is manufactured now is very different than even 20 years ago. Makes me wonder. I do love a good Reese’s cup though!

    Like

  3. Madeline Taylor says:

    Order your greeting cards! I get it! I’m on it!
    As for Peanut butter – I am a serious addict! We have two kinds on hand at all times. The first is the crunchy natural kind from Whole Foods; the stirring of which is practically a calendared event. If we were to run short, life would NOT be pretty. I HAVE to have that one. The other, Jif, is what my daughter has to have. David and Terra (the dog) are impartial and will eat either. No one in the family is really a huge fan of the peanut butter sandwich (again, the dog is impartial as to how pb is offered as long as it’s offered. Indeed, one of our favorite tricks is to open the jar of pb and see how long it takes Terra to jump up from whatever antipode of the house she may be lounging to come for it. Her greatest feat was coming up from the basement at the mere sound of the jar lid being unscrewed. We were so proud. We are so easily amused!).
    Ruby dips carrots,apples and oreos in it; David dips pretzels into it or eats it right out of the jar on a spoon. Me: any excuse to eat it and I rise to the task. Carrots, celery, red pepper, pretzels and Oreos? Oh hell, yeah! I may not be able to lose weight to save my life but I can name every candy bar with pb in it and I have countless recipes that involve the heavenly paste. When my nephew was in third grade(?) I made him a batman iced peanut butter flavored birthday cake. Not a huge hit with the kids but luckily this was before the days of peanut alergies and they were happy to eat anything slathered in Batman black icing. When Jacob became a vegan, I found a recipe for peanut butter cookies that did not call for either eggs or butter. Amazingly, a fabulous recipe that I often make unless traditional peanut butter blossoms win out. When Ruby was sick last year and couldn’t eat a thing it was those same peanut butter blossoms that she requested and even carted off to the hospital with her. She couldn’t keep them down. They didn’t cure meningitis. But the reminder and comfort they brought of home must’ve carried her through. I’m no doctor but I believe in the power of peanut butter. There’s nothing more satisfying than opening a brand new jar and desecrating it’s smooth shiny surface with and errant plunge of the index finger and when I have the hiccups only peanut butter will take those demons away!

    Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 cup peanut butter
    1/4 cup oil
    3/4 cups sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Mix all ingredients in a bowl, roll the dough into 2-inch balls, place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes

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  4. I developed a tree nut allergy and peanuts had to be eliminated from my diet. I would like to think it was from all those years I enjoyed it and over indulged. Peanut butter on apples, rice cakes, celery sticks, whole grain bread, cookies and of course Reese’s cups. The Reese’s cups got me through some stressful times in private practice. Ba days in the ICU, breaking bad news and 40 patient days. You article made me miss the taste of peanut butter. I and my family will feel the price increase due to the damage to the peanut crop this year.

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  5. My favorite is crunchy organic spread directly onto a banana…great after a bike ride!

    Like

  6. Pingback: Cycling Diary: Wine, Onions & Socks | cyclingrandma

  7. Pingback: New Studies: Peanuts, Eggs & Sex | cyclingrandma

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