BY DONNA WESTFALL
It’s April 2nd and it’s National PB&J Day.
PB = peanut butter. J = jelly.
HOW DID IT GET STARTED?
In 1880, Dr. Ambrose Straub, A St. Louis physician crushed peanuts into a paste in order to help provide protein to his senior patients with bad teeth. Since they could no longer chew meat, the ground peanuts made an excellent substitute. Straub patented a peanut butter-making machine in 1903. Although according to the Corn Products Company, some unknown physician invented peanut butter.
At any rate, peanut paste has been around a lot longer than the 1800’s.
Peanuts were known as early as 950 B.C. and originated in South America. The ancient Incas used peanuts and were known to have made it into a paste-like substance. As a crop peanuts emigrated from South America to Africa by early explorers and then traveled by trade into Spain who then traded the product to the American colonies. The first commercial peanut crop was grown in Virginia in the early to mid 1840’s and in North Carolina beginning around 1818.
George Washington Carver, in the late 1890’s, at the age of thirty, Carver gained acceptance to Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where he was the first black student. He is credited with coming up with 300 uses for peanuts. Decades of growing only cotton and tobacco had depleted the soils of the south. The economy of the farming south had been devastated by years of civil war and the fact that the cotton and tobacco plantations could no longer use or abuse slave labor. Carver convinced the southern farmers to follow his suggestions and helped the region to recover by planting an additional crop: peanuts.
Through exposure at World Fairs’ peanut butter quickly grew in popularity. During World War II, soldiers combined jelly with their peanut butter and spread it on bread to make it more palatable.
HOW TO MAKE A PB&J SANDWICH
Whether you like creamy or crunchy, salted or salt free; peanut butter is spread on one piece of bread.
Then take your favorite jelly or jam, and spread on another piece of bread. Put the two pieces together and you’ve got yourself a PB&J sandwich. ENJOY!