Provided by: CulinarySchools.org The peanut is native to South America, and thought to have been discovered around 950 BC. The ancient Mayan and Aztez civilizations are said to have developed a paste substance from peanuts. From South America, peanuts were introduced into other countries, including the United States. Peanuts were grown commercially in North Carolina around 1818 and in Virginia in the mid 1840's. Several individuals throughout history have been given the credit for inventing peanut butter. All of them did play a part in creating the peanut butter we enjoy today, but only one can receive the credit for the actual invention of peanut butter. In 1884, Marcelleus Edson, of Canada, registered United States Patent #306727, for a process of milling peanuts into a fluid state, which he utilized in a peanut-based candy. Dr. John H. Kellogg, of Battle Creek, Michigan, is also one of the individuals credited with inventing peanut butter, in 1895. Dr. Kellogg ran a sanatorium in Battle Creek. He ground the peanuts into a butter to entice his clients at the sanatorium, to eat a vegetable source of protein instead of eating meat. It was a big hit. In 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub introduced a new peanut butter invention, a hand-cranked peanut grinding machine. This moist butter of peanuts was then introduced and sold, at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. In 1922, a chemist named Joseph Rosefield discovered a method for preventing the oil from separating out of the peanut butter mixture. The process, which added hydrogenated vegetable oil, also extended the freshness of the peanut butter for up to a year. In 1932, he created his own brand known as "Skippy" Peanut Butter. Inventor George Washington Carver has also, mistakenly, been given credit for inventing peanut butter. He did invent over 300 ways to use peanuts, but he never applied for a patent for a peanut butter invention. His genius with peanuts led to the knowledge that peanut butter can be used for many things. For instance, it will remove chewing gum from hair, it can be used as a lubricant, it cleans and softens leather, it can be substituted for shaving cream and it makes great bait for a mousetrap. Even though some historians credit several other people with inventing peanut butter, the majority correctly give credit to Dr. John H. Kellogg. In 1897, he applied for and received the United States Patent # 580787, for the process of creating a protein/meat substitute mixture made from peanuts. His peanut butter invention was created by a food grinder that made the buttery-peanut spread. Peanut butter is made by a process that includes: shelling, roasting, cooling, blanching, grinding into a paste, heating and cooling a second time, and then being jarred and packaged for shipping. It's hard to believe something so tasty and delicious with jelly, pickles, tomatoes, bacon, bologna, and chocolate, is made from so few ingredients and is so nutritious. Peanut butter is good for you, it has vitamin B-3 and B-9, it helps prevent anemia, contains dietary fiber, helps prevent colorectal cancer, and can even help prevent weight gain. It is also a very common and often asked for lunch item, with children and adults! Interesting facts about peanut butter: * Americans consume over 700 million pounds or over two pounds per person per year. * An 18 ounce jar of peanut butter contains approximately 850 peanuts. * The United States is the world's largest peanut butter producer and consumer. * The majority of the peanuts grown in the United States come from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. * More than half of the peanuts grown in the U.S. are used to make peanut butter. * Peanuts are also used in many different animal foods. * Salt and sugar are often added to peanut butter to increase the flavor intensity. * The peanut is not really a nut, but a legume that grows underground. * January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day!