It’s the month of April and spring is definitely in the air. Many Americans think of April as the deadline for their taxes, but it is also the International Guitar Month, Keep America Beautiful Month as well as National Humor Month (a good idea to keep in mind when paying the IRS).
One of the most delicious days is held every second of April, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. This lunchtime staple is so beloved, there’s a whole day to celebrate it. For those who can’t get enough, there’s National Peanut Butter Month, which is held in November.
Here are some interesting things to know about what is probably America’s favorite sandwich, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Americans love PBJ
The combination of sweet jelly and salty peanut butter pressed between two slices of bread has become a meal all its own. It is said that the average American eats about 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time he reaches the age of 18 or by the time he graduates from high school. Every year, Americans can make as many as ten billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, based on the amount of peanut butter consumed.
The love affair begins
Using peanuts and grinding it into a paste was done by Aztec Native Americans a few centuries ago. The peanut plant actually originated in South America. At the same time, jelly has been around for centuries, believed to originate from Middle Eastern countries where sugar cane was abundant, before the crusaders brought the preparation techniques back to Europe.
However, peanut butter was first introduced to Americans in 1904. It was at the St. Louis Universal Exposition wherein Americans first got a taste of the new treat. However, the patent for peanut butter dates back to 1884 in Montreal, Quebec held by Marcellus Gilmore Edson, which is the peanut butter that we know today.
At the turn of the 20th century, peanut butter was treated as a delicacy since it was only served in New York tearooms to discerning patrons. However, as the price of peanut butter became more affordable, its popularity as a sandwich spread began to climb.
It is believed that PBJ was created by American soldiers in World War II. The soldiers decided to put together their food rations of peanut butter, bread and jelly and came up with one very tasty sandwich. When the war ended, the popularity of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches spread, making the sales of the ingredients skyrocket.
To make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter, some 540 peanuts will be used. In the country, about 1.5 billion pounds of peanut butter and peanut products are consumed each year. Fortunately, peanut butter contains some eight grams of protein. Researches found that kids and women prefer the creamy peanut butter variety, while guys like crunchy peanut butter.
So be sure to enjoy this tasty sandwich on National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Make your own variation, serving it with potato chips, pickles and anything else you can think of!