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Peanut Butter

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
why is Peanut Butter called Peanut 'Butter'

it has no butter or other dairy ingredients in it so why call it butter
we're as good as our last meal.
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we're as good as our last meal.
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post #2 of 9
It's spreadable like butter
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #3 of 9
Can't be that simple, Jim. If it were, we'd call it strawberry butter (instead of jam) and orange butter (instead of marmalade).

Within the world of sugar preserves, there is a difference between jams, marmalades, and butters. Has to do with the consistency of the ingredients, and the proportion of sugar to other ingredients.

But that still begs the question as to why "butter" in the first place?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 9
The only other food I can think of off the top of my head that is called a butter is apple butter: very thick spreadable apples. There probably are other fruit "butters," such as apricot or pear, purees cooked way down. I suspect the name is because they are spreads for bread, maybe in place of dairy butter?

But from what I can find, the name "peanut butter" is mostly a marketing gimmick. From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America:

For centuries peanuts have been ground and consumed by indigenous peoples of South America and by Africans, but peanut butter was not popularized in America until the vegetarian John Harvey Kellogg endorsed it as a substitute for "cow's butter." In the early 1890s Kellogg crushed various nuts between two rollers and claimed the results to be "nut butters." . . . Kellogg was an excellent promoter. He extolled the virtues of peanut butter throughout the nation. To commercialize his discovery, Kellogg created the Sanitas Nut Food Company and placed his brother, Will Kellogg, in charge. Nut butters quickly became a fad among other health-food manufacturers in America.
-- Andrew F. Smith

"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 9
Lot's of others, Suzanne: Apple is the most popular, probably because it's widely available. Off the top of my head I can think of pear, pumpkin, apricot, peach and even tomato.

In theory, any fleshy fruit can be turned into a butter. According to the Ball Blue Book, "Butters are made by cooking fruit pulp and sugar to a thick consistency that will spread easily. Spices may be added; the amount and variety depend upon personal taste. After sugar is added, butters should be cooked slowly and stirred frequently to prevent scorching. If a fine-textured butter is desired, the pulp can be processed through a food mill and then strained through a fine-meshed sieve."

That Andrew Smith quote certainly sounds like a reasonable explanation. And fits the merchandising mode of many 19th and early 20th century health-food proponents---both serious ones and charletens both.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 9
Jams and jellies aren't spreadable like butter.
A little harder to spread actually.
There are many fruit butters, pear being my favorite.
They spread smoothly and evenly, like softened butter.

For the inevitable question regarding chunky peanut butter, that came after the product was named.
Just as there was no such thing as a black & white TV until color television was invented, there was no such thing as smooth or creamy peanut butter until chunky hit the market.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #7 of 9
from:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_butter

Evidence of modern peanut butter comes from US patent #306727 issued to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1884, for a process of milling roasted peanuts between heated surfaces until the peanuts reached "a fluid or semi-fluid state." As the product cooled, it set into what Edson described as "a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment."
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
i went to the 'jam and spreads' section in the supermarket today and they had peanut butter there.

there was no butter to be seen in the spread section at all
we're as good as our last meal.
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we're as good as our last meal.
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post #9 of 9
I went to the dairy section of the supermarket and found soy milk, which has no dairy whatsoever.
shrug
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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