Test Your Peanut IQ!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Joe Wilkes

We've all read the news this past week that peanuts make excellent carriers of salmonella, but what else do you know about this recently beleaguered legume?
  1. From what continent do peanuts originate? Peanuts originated in South America, where they have been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. Spanish and Portuguese traders brought them back to Europe. Currently, the largest producer of peanuts in the world is China, followed by India, and the U.S. is a distant third.
  2. How much peanut butter does the average American eat each year? The average American eats about 3 pounds of peanut butter every year. Marlon Brando was an avid peanut butter fan. It was rumored that after visits by the actor, his hosts would discover emptied peanut butter jars in their kitchens.
  3. On average, how many peanuts does a typical 18-oz. jar of peanut butter contain? On average, it contains 850 peanuts. It's because of this that about half of the Georgia peanut crop goes to making peanut butter. Peanut butter is not as popular in the rest of the world as it is in America—two-thirds of the international peanut production goes to making peanut oil, which is very popular in cooking due to its high smoking point (the temperature at which it begins to smoke).
  4. Why does peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth? Peanut butter sticks because of its ability to almost instantly absorb moisture due to its high protein content (30 grams per cup). It's like the ShamWow® of food! This may also explain why it is a secret weapon for removing chewing gum from fabric or hair.
  5. Who invented peanut butter? Contrary to common belief, it was not George Washington Carver. There is evidence that the ancient Incans created an ancient mash, and John Harvey Kellogg, the cereal magnate, marketed a nut butter in 1890, years before Dr. Carver's famous experiments at Tuskegee University, where he discovered over 300 uses for peanuts, as adhesives, ink, fuel, and cosmetics, among others. His research revolutionized agricultural practices in the southern U.S.