Peanuts Go Great With Other Produce

There are many good reasons why Americans eat more than 600 million pounds of peanuts and more than 700 million pounds of peanut butter each year. Not only are they great for ballpark snacks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, they’re key ingredients in some of today’s most innovative dishes -- from soups and sauces to tarts and cookies.

That’s because U.S.A-grown peanuts and peanut butter are versatile, widely available and offer an easy way to add crunch, flavor and protein to any dish. They provide an array of texture and flavor possibilities -- whether cooked, used as a crunchy topping or turned into a flavorful sauce.

Peanuts and peanut butter are good sources of vitamin E and several B vitamins (including niacin) and they contain no trans-fat. Like all plant-based foods, peanuts and peanut butter are cholesterol free. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, including peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Give your favorite produce a healthful and flavorful boost this summer with peanut butter straight from the jar. Or try this Fruity Peanut Butter Dip recipe. It goes great with apples, celery, bananas and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fruity Peanut Butter Dip

This great dip for fresh fruit, celery and baby carrots can also be used as a tasty spread.

1 medium apple, cored and quartered but not peeled
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup all natural peanut butter
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups of fresh fruit and vegetables such as apple slices, celery sticks and baby carrots

In a food processor, chop one apple and cranberries. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, orange juice and cinnamon. Stir apple/cranberry mixture into peanut butter mixture until combined. Cover and refrigerate.

Serves: 14

Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 159, total fat: 9.2g, saturated fat: 1.2g, percent of calories from fat: 52, percent of calories from saturated fat: 7, protein: 5g, carbohydrate: 15g, cholesterol: 0mg, dietary fiber: 3g, sodium: 99mg.

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About The Author, Ned Gonzalez
For more recipes and other information about peanuts and peanut butter, check out the National Peanut Board Web site at www.nationalpeanutboard.org. For more recipes and information on how to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet, visit www.5aday.org. - ARA