Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a food product made of roasted or ground peanuts, usually salted and sometimes sweetened. It is commonly sold in grocery stores, but can be made at home. It is sometimes referred to by its abbreviation, "P.B." Many styles are available; the most popular are creamy (smooth) and crunchy (with small chunks of peanuts), but honey-roasted, wholenut varieties and those mixed with chocolate can also be found. Creamy peanut butter is made by grinding all of the mixture very finely. The crunchier styles add larger pieces of peanut back into the creamy mixture after grinding.

Used in sandwiches (particularly the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich), candy (Reese's, for example), cookies and pastry, it is a high source of protein, and is popular with children. Elvis Presley made a famous version of the peanut butter sandwich with banana (either mashed or whole) that was grilled or fried.

Peanut butter is popular mainly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and The Netherlands, but is overshadowed by hazelnut butter in other parts of Europe. It also has above-average popularity in the Philippines, parts of the Middle East, South Korea and other areas where Americans have maintained a strong presence in recent decades. It is manufactured in China, India and other emerging markets.

For people with peanut allergy, peanut butter can cause reactions up to and including fatal anaphylactic shock.

The peanut plant is susceptible to the ground mold which produces aflatoxin, and contamination in peanut butter is possible.

The first peanut butter was the ground paste that the indigenous Americans of Mexico used as the base for a number of their "moles" (pronounced "molays", from Nahuatl molli, meaning sauce).

In 1890, George A. Bayle Jr., began to sell ground peanut paste as a protein supplement for people with no or bad teeth. In 1893, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg originated an early variety of peanut butter at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg, along with his brother, W.K. Kellogg, patented a process for making peanut butter in 1895, but it used steamed peanuts rather than roasted peanuts. Contrary to popular belief, the renowned botanist, George Washington Carver, had no hand in inventing this food, although he developed many other uses for the peanut.

Peanut butter was first made in Australia by Edward Halsey for Sanitarium Health Food Company on May 29, 1899 and was sold as early as June 16[1]. Peanut butter was widely introduced in 1904 by C.H. Sumner at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (Saint Louis World's Fair) which also popularized the ice cream cone, hot dog and hamburger.

Founded by Benton Black, Krema Products Company in Columbus, Ohio began selling peanut butter in 1908 and is the oldest peanut butter company still in operation today.

In 1922, Joseph L. Rosefield developed modern peanut butter by using finer grinding, hydrogenation, and an emulsifier to keep the oil from separating. This created a creamy texture unlike the earlier peanut butter described as gritty, or pasty. He received a patent for stable peanut butter which had a shelf life of up to a year.

Swift & Company adopted the technology for their E.K Pond peanut butter which they had introduced somewhat earlier in 1920. In 1928 they changed the name to "Peter Pan". Peter Pan was originally packaged in a tin can with a turn key and re-closable lid but switched to glass during World War II. In 1932, Rosefield left that company. He formed the Rosefield Packing Co. and began selling "Skippy" peanut butter on February 1, 1933.

Peanut butter became a very profitable business in the United States. Currently, the best-selling American brand is Jif, a product introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1958. Jif is now made by the J.M Smucker Company. The oldest surviving US brand is Krema peanut butter, first sold in 1908. Australian health food company Sanitarium Health Food Company, has been making commercial peanut butter since 1898 [1]. Sanitarium still makes peanut butter today.

There also exist other nut butters, including almond, cashew, and hazelnut butters.

Modern peanut butter production
Nearly half of the U.S. peanut production went to peanut butter factories in 2001. This makes the U.S. the world's largest peanut butter supplier and consumer. Peanuts grown in other countries are usually harvested for cooking oil called peanut oil.

There are many types of peanuts. Small-seed peanuts are rich in oil and usually grown for peanut butter and oil. In the U.S., Runner Types and Spanish Types are two families of peanuts grown in Southern States including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The first three states produce 60% of the peanuts that are used in peanut butter.

After harvest, peanuts are sent to factories for inspection. The inspected peanuts are roasted in ovens. After roasting, they are rapidly cooled by air to stop cooking. This helps to retain its color and oil contents.

The cooked peanuts are then rubbed between rubber belts to remove the outer skin. The kernels are split with the hearts removed and then cleaned and sorted. Next, the peanuts are sent to the grinder.

The peanuts are ground twice: pulverized to small bits first, then ground with salt, sweetener and sometimes a stabilizer to keep oil and water from separation. So-called "old-fashioned" or "natural" peanut butter often does not contain a stabilizer. The oils will separate after a time; these varieties are frequently stored in the refrigerator, which prevents the oil separation. Skippy recently introduced a "natural" peanut butter which does not require any stirring. It does, however, contain palm oil as a stabilizer.

In the United States, peanut butter must contain a minimum of 90% peanuts, according to US food laws. Artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and preservatives are not allowed. (This is why some peanut butter manufacturers' low-calorie or low-fat products instead call themselves peanut spread.) Some brands may add salt and sugar (indicated by dextrose, sucrose or fructose on the label) to suit the taste of the average consumer (or even molasses, as Jif does), while other brands offer peanut butter without such additives for those who prefer the unadulterated peanut taste.

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