As we celebrate Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day later this week (March 1, to be exact), we thought we’d share some little-known peanut butter facts. Use them to dazzle your family and friends, or just amuse yourself with your superior peanut butter knowledge:
1. When is a nut *not* a nut? When it’s a peanut! Just like we told you last week about pistachios*, a peanut is not botanically a nut — it’s a legume! Peanuts grow underground, and are the edible seeds that grow in pods (the peanut shells). Peanuts account for a full two-thirds of all “nut” consumption in the US.
2. Peanuts: yay! or meh? Americans consume more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year on average, and Americans in the aggregate spend almost $800 million/year on peanut butter. As we like to say, that’s a lot of nuts! On the other hand, the average European person eats less than one tablespoon of peanut butter per year.
3. Still working your way through your Valentine’s Day candy? First of all, you show incredible restraint. Second, Reese’s hearts, available only at Valentine-time, has the highest peanut-butter-to-chocolate ratio of all the Reese’s candies.
4. Oh, the humanity … A whopping 950,000 jars (25 tons) of Costco peanut butter were buried in a New Mexico landfill when Costco’s peanut-butter supplier was linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2012. The retail giant refused the huge shipment, and likewise forbade its donation elsewhere.
5. Go ahead, buy the “economy” size. The jar of name-brand peanut butter you pick up at the store typically has a shelf life of a year and a half. But that’s not the half of it! If you keep the jar, unopened, in your pantry, your shelf-stable peanut butter will last for many years to come. Even once opened, a jar of name-brand peanut butter is still edible for half a decade before it tastes gross — which is kind of a gross thought in itself. [These fresh-dates don’t apply to fresh or “natural” peanut butters, which you should use within two months of purchase.]
*(a pistachio is actually the seed of the fruit of the pistachio tree, and is related to cashews and mangoes)