Peanut butter has been a staple food item for the American people for more than 100 years. Peanut butter recipes can be found for everything from simple PB&J sandwiches to desserts, snacks, sauces and more. Earn your Peanut Butter badge to learn about this tasty treat. Badges you may wish to earn alongside include the Sandwiches badge, Candy Making badge, or even the Cookies badge.
Types of Peanut Butter
You would think all peanut butters are created equal since it is such a simple product, but in reality peanut butter can vary greatly. Some are smooth and some are crunchy, leaving chunks of peanuts mixed in. Some are made of nothing but ground peanuts and a little salt while other incorporate sugar and additives to give it a smooth spreadable texture. Every brand makes their peanut butter a little differently.
To Do: Perform a blind taste test, comparing at least 4 different brands, and/or crunchy vs. smooth. Which do you prefer?
How Is Peanut Butter Made?
When people think of how peanut butter is made they usually just think of crushed peanuts, but there is so much more to the process. The Peanut Butter Council put together a great video that follows the peanut from the time it is planted until it is in jar on a shelf ready to be purchased.
To Do: Make your own peanut butter. Compare the taste and texture to store bought. Which do you prefer?
The History of Peanut Butter
So where did peanut butter come from? Who invented it? How did it become so popular? Learn the answers to these questions and more by reading the article History of Peanuts and Peanut Butter by the National Peanut Council.
To Do: Create a timeline with at least 10 points that show the journey of the peanut from the first time it was used as a food source until modern day peanut butter sitting on the store shelf.
Peanut Butter Recipes
Recipes using peanut butter are numerous and varied. From Thai peanut sauces to peanut butter cookies, peanut butter is used to flavor a wide variety of foods. Skippy Peanut Butter has an entire page of their website dedicated to numerous recipes using peanut butter.
To Do: Make 3 recipes that use peanut butter, one dessert, one snack, and one side dish or main dish. To get you started, here is my favorite peanut butter recipe:
- Smooth peanut butter
- corn flakes (Coconut, crushed nuts, sugar sprinkles, etc. can also be used, but I am partial to corn flakes.)
- Chocolate chips (Optional)
- Slice bananas into 1/2″ slices.
- Coat each slice with peanut butter
- Roll in corn flakes
- Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for at one hour.
- Optional: Melt chocolate chips and dip 1/2 of each slice in chocolate and refreeze until set.
- Once frozen, place all banana bites in a large ziplock bag and keep in the freezer for quick snacks. (They taste best frozen in my opinion!)
Creative Uses for Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter can be used for a lot more than just a tasty snack. For example if you ever get gum in your hair, peanut butter can come to the rescue. Just take some smooth peanut butter and rub it over the gum and surrounding hair. Leave it alone for a few minutes and the gum will become less sticky and can be removed from the hair. Read through Baby Gizmo’s article on 30 Creative Uses for Peanut Butter for more ideas.
To Do: Make a simple peanut butter bird feeder. Directions can be found on The Spruce website.
Did you know there is more than one kind of peanut? In the United States we grow 4 main varieties, each with different properties that makes them ideal for different uses such as candy bars or snacking. Which one works best for making peanut butter and why? Learn about the different types of peanuts on the American Peanut Council website.
To Do: Sample one of each of the four types of peanuts grown in the United States. Be able to tell where each is grown and what type of products it is used in.
To Do: Create a “peanut map” that shows where each type of peanut is grown. Use this free printable map from WaterProof Paper and create a color key to show where the various peanuts are grown.
Fun Fact – Algae in Your Peanut Butter?!
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admisitration) when it comes to eating, the ocean provides much more than just seafood. Did you know that peanut butter contains carrageenan? Carrageenan is a generic term for compounds extracted from species of red algae. Boiling the algae extracts the carrageenan, which in turn is used to make peanut butter more spreadable.
To Do: Watch the short video on the NOAA website about how the ocean contributes to many products you would never think about.
Parts of a Peanut Plant
Did you know that peanuts actually grow underground?
To Do: Use the printable forms below to diagram and learn about the parts of a peanut plant
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