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Peanut History

The beginning of Planter Peanut Company

In 1888 a 12 year old immigrant, Amedeo Obici, arrived from Venice, Italy.  He sold produce and nuts for a living.  After a few years he conceived of the idea of  selling salted, roasted peanuts.  In 1906 he abandoned the fruit business and went full time to roasting peanuts.   They took the name "Planters Peanuts" and delivered to the nearby stores.  In a few years they added chocolate coated peanuts to the line and by 1910 they were the "peanut kings" in the United States.  It wasn't until after the World war 2 that peanut brittle
became popular.

Facts about peanuts

The peanut is really a legume, like a pea. The peanut was known in Peru around 1200 to 1500 B.C.  well preserved peanut plants have been found in Inca mummy bundles and burial sites.

Before the civil war, peanuts were known throughout the South as "groundnuts", "ground peas", Goober peas", Monkey Nuts", Pindars", and Goobers".

The name "pindar" and "goober" were African tribal words.

About 1920 farmers in the southern states were infested with the boll weevil.   They were forced to find another cash crop to take the place of cotton - they choose peanuts, which turned out to be an excellent substitute.

The peanut became the favorite food for farm animals, but in recent years corn is now cheaper to produce and easier to store  than peanuts.

India is by far the largest producer of peanuts in the world, followed by mainland China.  India and China produce over 50% of the world's peanuts.   The United states is in third place.

About 10% of the United States peanut crop is sold in the shell.

Peanut kernels which count 60 to 80 peanuts per ounce are considered small (such as the Spanish peanut).   40 to 60 peanuts per ounce are medium, and 30 to 40 peanuts per ounce are graded as large.

The major use of peanuts in the United States is making peanut butter. To prepare peanut butter, the raw peanut is shelled, roasted, cooled, and blanched (remove the red skin).   The kernels are ground to produce a smooth textured butter - peanut butter.   During grinding the peanuts are heated up to 170 degrees and emulsifiers are added.  The the mixture is cooled to 120 degrees to stiffen the mixture.   To prepare chunky peanut butter, the manufacturer will add bits of coursely ground or broken peanuts.

peanuts contain about 26% protein - higher than dairy products, eggs, fish, and many cuts of meats.

A glass of milk and two peanut butter sandwiches provide 83% of the growing child's daily need for protein.



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