In our ongoing effort to provide you with reasons, if you actually need them, to celebrate all things food, we bring you National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, arriving on Thursday, March 1st.. Whether it’s a PB & J on the run, a sizeable dollop in your Thai inspired sauce or a heaping spoonful at 3:00 am, little is as comforting as peanut butter. We sympathize for anyone with an allergy, for you are missing one of the simple pleasures of daily American life. Our recipe for Thai inspired peanut dipping sauce follows at the end of this writing.
Referred to as groundnuts in England, peanuts and peanut butter can be traced to Asia and Africa, as far back as the 15th. century. The introduction of peanut butter in the United States, according to peanutlovers.com, began in 1908, when a St. Louis doctor formulated a peanut butter “paste”, to help patients with bad teeth to gain valuable nutrition. By 1895, a patent for producing peanut butter was obtained by the Kellogg brothers, and, by 1903, Dr. George Washington Carver had developed 300 additional uses for peanut butter. This accomplishment gave Dr. Carver consideration as the father of the peanut industry.
By 1932, peanut butter production processes had been further developed and widely enhanced, allowing for the introduction of Skippy brand creamy peanut butter into the marketplace. Cruncy peanut butter appeared two years later. Jif brand, introduced by Proctor and Gamble Company, appeared on store shelves in 1955. Currently owned by J.M. Smucker Company, Jif continues to have the largest processing plant in the country, which produces 250,000 jars of Jif peanut butter on a daily basis.
In 2011, a brutally hot summer devastated the southern peanut crop, resulting in a price increase of up to 40%. But even with this increase, peanut butter is a fabulous source of easy, on the go protein, with 4 grams in each tablespoon. Yes, there is fat in peanut butter, causing some to choose natural style over regular. However, the U.S.D.A. found almost undetectable amounts of trans fat in both varieties. So, in terms of health, it comes down to a personal taste choice. Each tablespoon of peanut butter has approximately 95 calories, so you can moderately indulge in this creamy, crunchy and abundant treat and feel good about it as well.
For all things nutty, salty, sweet and delicious, The Peanut Roaster will become your go to place. For 60 years, The Peanut Roaster has been offering a wide variety of the freshest roasted nuts, both plain, candied and savory spiced. They have lovely, nutty confections as well, including lots of chocolate and the best peanut brittle we’ve tasted in a long while. For those of you who are looking for gifts, there are wonderful assortments, as well as gift cards for giving. If you need a lot of nuts, you may buy in bulk as well. In our area, there are three locations; in Cary, at 115 Weston Parkway in the Arboretum Shopping Center, in Wake Forest, at 11721 Retail Drive and in Henderson, at 394 Zeb Robinson Road. Check their website for individual store hours and specials.
Now that you have your fresh peanuts, as promised, here is our recipe for Thai peanut dipping sauce; wonderful with vegetables, spring rolls, grilled meats and apple slices.
Thai Inspired Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup of fresh, roasted peanuts
- 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 2 cloves of fresh, minced garlic
- 2 1/4 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1/3 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Combine all of the above ingredients together in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. This sauce is best if served warm. Enjoy!