“Just because we call it peanut butter, does that mean it’s chock-full of actual butter? carlosgaw/Getty Images
How lucky of us humans to have evolved enough to question everything. Sure, sometimes this attribute can lead to some sticky situations, but a healthy sense of inquisitiveness ultimately leads us to becoming more well-rounded people.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the food scene has not escaped the joy of the idle interrogatory … especially in regard to questions that aren’t as easy to answer as they might seem. Is cereal soup? Are burritos just savory Twinkies? Who fooled us into believing muffins are part of a balanced breakfast?!
One question so intrinsically complicated in its simplicity concerns one of our favorite condiments of all time: peanut butter. Is there butter in peanut butter?! We found out for you.
Short anwer? No.
Long answer? Uh, no.
Peanut butter was actually invented by the Aztecs and Incas sometime between the 14th and 15th century, but the first patent for peanut butter was filed, not by George Washington Carver, but a Montreal man named Marcellus Gilmore Edson. Edson quipped that his newfangled peanut concoction had a consistency "like that of butter, lard, or ointment," forever classifying the beloved condiment into something it’s objectively not. Regardless of the fact that peanut butter is simply ground peanuts, the "butter" part of the name stuck because of its consistency.
Now, this isn’t to say that all peanut butter is the same … brands like Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan typically add a few grams of sugar into the mix — still a far cry from butter.
Whatever you call it, peanut butter has been a hot commodity for hundreds of years because of its taste, texture and shelf life. Did you know a jar of unopened peanut butter can last for more than two years?! It’s a truly special condiment even though it’s butter-free.
Now That’s Interesting
During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers would eat porridge mixed with ground peanuts. Not exactly the peanut butter we know today, but not far off.
Originally Published: Dec 29, 2020