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Peanut Butter Celebration – It’s Not Just Cookies & Sandwiches Anymore

November 1, 2014

Peanut_Butter_TextureNovember is designated as national peanut butter lovers month but for many this is a designation that is year round. Peanut butter is a unique food in that it can be used at every meal. It’s good on toast in the morning and as a snack in cookies. There’s even peanut butter in some ice creams. Main dishes and breads also feature peanut butter for the peanut butter lover.

Peanuts are also honored in March with National Peanut month with a focus on the whole peanut. According to 4-5 servings per week of nuts, seeds or legumes is part of a healthy diet that can lower blood pressure. Peanut butter is also credited in studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association with decreasing diabetes onset in women and is low in trans fats. Regular peanut butter does have a small amount to keep the oils from separating.

Peanuts actually aren’t nuts but rather are a legume. Americans eat three pounds of peanut butter per year per person and an acre of peanuts makes 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches. According to peanut butter rose to popularity in the late 1800s when doctors asked for a food product that would serve as a protein supplement for those who could no longer properly chew meat.

According to half of all peanuts produced in the US are used to make peanut butter and peanut spread. By law ‘peanut butter’ must be 90% peanuts with 10% sweeteners, oils and other ingredients to insure shelf stability.

Georgia leads all other states in peanut production, followed by Alabama, Texas Florida and North Carolina. One state not often associated with peanuts is New Mexico, which is in the top 10 for production.

Try citrus braised pork shoulder with peanut sauce or peanut chicken strips with stir fry and peanut butter dressing (don’t knock it until you try it!) for main dish peanut butter taste. Mosey up to a bowl autumn gold peanut soup, curried peanut soup, an Asian lettuce wrap or Chinese chicken salad with peanut butter dressing. Still another dish is peanut butter sweet potato soufflé. Use leftover pork for South American Peanut pork or leftover sliced ham with a peanut butter glaze. Give burgers a kick as Thai Peanut Burgers.

Snack on cherry peanut granola or have a chocolate peanut butter smoothie. There’s peanut butter banana holiday bread to give away. If you’re looking to impress with your chef skills try a peanut butter panna cotta with caramel mousse. Peanut butter bread is good for breakfast on the run or as a snack.

You can even indulge in hot chocolate made a whole new way – Cinna-Nut Hot Chocolate. Make a delectable treat with toasted peanut butter & jelly ravioli with cinnamon ice cream – healthy and tasty!

Peanut butter cookies are another snacking favorite. Combine ½ cup each sugar, packed brown sugar and peanut butter with ¼ cup shortening and softened butter. Stir in an egg, 1 ¼ cups flour, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. Shape into 1 ¼ inch balls and gently press flat with a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake at 375F for 9-10 minutes and cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to rack to cool.

Peanut butter fudge, peanut butter pie and a wide range of other treats can satisfy the peanut butter lover’s taste for what they crave. If you love peanut butter thank a peanut farmer and indulge your love! Morning, noon and night – and snacks in between!

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