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"Smooth" peanut butter in a jar.

Peanut butter is a food paste made from ground dry roasted peanuts, which is sold as either "crunchy" or "smooth"/"creamy" variety. Major consumer-brand peanut butter contains hydrogenated vegetable oil to stabilize it and prevent oil separation, salt to prevent spoilage, and dextrose or other sweeteners to enhance flavor. Peanut butter marketed as natural or organic might only contain peanuts and salt.[citation needed] Although some organic and natural varieties use palm oil instead of hydrogenated vegetable oil to prevent oil separation. It is popular in North America and the Netherlands, where it is used mainly as a sandwich spread, and a key ingredient in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as well as peanut butter flavored chocolate bars. Peanut butter may also be added to desserts such as cakes and biscuits. The United States[1] and China are leading exporters of peanut butter.

January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day in the United States.[2]

In some types of peanut butter, chocolate, jelly, or other ingredients may be added.



Evidence of modern peanut butter comes from US patent #306727 issued to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1884, for a process of milling roasted peanuts between heated surfaces until the peanuts reached "a fluid or semi-fluid state." As the product cooled, it set into what Edson described as "a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment." Edson's patent is based on the preparation of a peanut paste as an intermediate to the production of peanut candies. While Edson's patent does not describe the modern confection we know as peanut butter, it does show the initial steps necessary for the production of peanut butter.

J.H. Kellogg, of cereal fame, secured US patent #580787 in 1897 for his "Process of Preparing Nutmeal," which produced a "pasty adhesive substance" that Kellogg called "nut-butter."

Dr. Ambrose Straub, a physician in St. Louis, Missouri pursued a method for providing toothless elderly with protein in the 1890s. His peanut butter making machine was patented in 1903.[3]


Peanut butter,
smooth style, without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 2,462 kJ (588 kcal)
Carbohydrates 20 g
Starch 4.8 g
Sugars 9.2 g
Dietary fiber 6 g
Fat 50 g
Protein 25 g
Water 1.8 g
Alcohol 0 g
Caffeine 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg (0%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Health benefits

Peanut butter may protect against a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats and resveratrol; butter prepared with the skin of the peanuts has a greater level of resveratrol and other health-aiding agents.[4] Peanut butter (and peanuts) provide protein, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, arginine,[5] and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.

Health concerns

For people with a peanut allergy, peanut butter can cause reactions including anaphylactic shock which has led to its banning in some schools.[6]

The peanut plant is susceptible to the mold Aspergillus flavus which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin.[7] Since it is impossible to completely remove every instance of aflatoxins, contamination of peanuts and peanut butter is monitored in many countries to ensure safe levels of this carcinogen. Average American peanut butter contains about 13 parts per billion of aflatoxins, a thousand times below the maximum recommended safe level.[citation needed]

Some brands of peanut butter may contain a small amount of added partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in trans fatty acids, thought to be a cause of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and stroke; these oils are added to make the butter easier to spread. Natural peanut butter, and peanuts, do not contain partially hydrogenated oils. A US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) survey of commercial peanut butters in the US showed the presence of trans fat, but at very low levels.[8] This survey was conducted in 2001, and it unclear what the current state of trans fats is in peanut butter products that contain partially hydrogenated oils. By law, if a serving size on the nutrition label contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats, then the manufacturer is legally allowed to claim that that the product contains "0g Trans Fats per serving." Some manufacturers have decreased the serving size of their products in order to be able to claim that the product contains "No Trans Fat per serving."[citation needed]

At least one study has found that peanut oil caused relatively heavy clogging of arteries. Robert Wissler of the University of Chicago reported that diets high in peanut oil, when combined with cholesterol intake, clogged the arteries of Rhesus monkeys more than butterfat. [Atherosclerosis 20: 303, 1974]

Peanut butter can harbor salmonella and cause salmonellosis, as in the salmonella outbreak in the United States in 2007.[9] In 2009, due to mishandling and apparent criminal negligence at a single Peanut Corporation of America factory in Blakely, Georgia, salmonella was found in 46 states[10] in peanut-butter-based products such as crackers, peanut-butter cookies, and dog treats. It has claimed at least nine human lives as of 17 March 2009 (2009 -03-17), and made at least 691 people sick in the United States.[11][12]

Other uses

Plumpy'nut is a peanut butter-based food used to fight malnutrition in famine stricken countries. A single pack contains 500 calories, can be stored unrefrigerated for 2 years, and requires no cooking or preparation.[13]

A common, simple outdoor bird feeder can be made by coating a pine cone once with peanut butter, then again with birdseed.[14]

Peanut butter is an effective bait for mouse traps.[15]

The oils found in peanut butter are known to allow chewing gum to be removed from hair. This is an alternative method to freezing the gum and removing it that way or adding lemon juice.[citation needed]


  1. ^ U.S. Exports of (NAICS 311911) Roasted Nuts & Peanut Butter With All Countries US Census Bureau, April 2005
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Sci Tech The Hindu, December 14, 2006
  5. ^ WH Foods
  6. ^ James Barron (September 27, 1998). "Dear Mr. Carver. This Is a Cease and Desist Order.". New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Aflatoxins in Your Food - and their Effect on Your Health". Environment, Health and Safety Online. 
  8. ^ Peanut butter is trans fat free.
  9. ^ Dennis G. Maki, M.D. (2009-02-11). Coming to Grips with Foodborne Infection — Peanut Butter, Peppers, and Nationwide Salmonella Outbreaks. New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  10. ^ RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR (2009-01-17). "People urged to avoid peanut butter products". AP via Yahoo News. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  11. ^ Investigation Update: Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium Infections, 2008–2009, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  12. ^ "US peanut boss refuses testimony". BBC News. 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  13. ^ Michael Wines (2005-08-08). "Hope for Hungry Children, Arriving in a Foil Packet". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "Pine Cone Bird Feeder". Wisconsin State Environmental Education for Kids!. 
  15. ^ "Victor brand rodent control solutions web site". 
  • Erlbach, Arlene (1993). Peanut Butter.. Lerner Publications. 
  • Patrick, Jr., Coyle, L. (1982). The World Encyclopedia of Food.. Facts on File. 
  • Lapedes, Daniel (1977). McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Food, 4th ed. Agriculture and Nutrition.. McGraw-Hill. 
  • Woodroof, Jasper Guy (1983). Peanuts: Production, Processing, Products.. Avi Publishing Company. 
  • Zisman, Honey (1985). The Great American Peanut Butter Book: A Book of Recipes, Facts, Figures, and Fun.. St. Martin's Press. 

External links

Simple English

File:Peanut butter 14juni09
Peanut butter in a jar
Peanut butter is a type of moist paste that is made of crushed roasted peanuts. There are two kinds of peanut butter: crunchy/chunky peanut butter and smooth/creamy peanut butter. It can be eaten, for example on bread, usually with jelly to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter was invented by George Washington Carver in the late 1890s.[1]

January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day.[2]


Peanut butter can protect people from cardiovascular sickness. Peanut butter (and peanuts) have lots of protein, E, magnesium, folate, food fiber, and arginine.[3] However, some people with peanut allergies can have a shock or alergic reaction from eating or smelling it, which has made some schools decide not to let their students eat peanut butter in their schools.[4] Some oils put inside peanut butter to make it easier to spread can also make people have heart disease. Peanut butter can also carry salmonella and make people sick because of it.


  1. Fishbein, Toby. "George Washington Carver". Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  3. WH Foods
  4. James Barron (September 27, 1998). "Dear Mr. Carver. This Is a Cease and Desist Order.". New York Times. 

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