Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by janet. janet Wonders, “how many peanuts does it take to make a 12 oz. jar of peanut butter?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, janet!

It's lunchtime in Wonderopolis and your belly is grumbling! As you look through your kitchen cabinet for a quick and tasty meal to make, you spot a jar of peanut butter and get a great idea. There's nothing quite like the salty-sweet taste of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! As you take a bite, you start to wonder about the peanuts in your sandwich.

Peanuts are native to the tropics of the Americas and probably originated in Brazil or Peru. By the time the Spanish began their invasion of the "New World" in the 15th century, peanuts were grown as far north as Mexico. People from Spain brought peanuts to Europe upon their return, and other traders eventually brought them to Asia and Africa.

But who first thought of mashing them up into a pasty, tasty treat? Researchers believe the ancient Aztecs mashed peanuts into a paste hundreds of years ago. Modern peanut butter didn't come about until the 1890s, though.

In 1890, Dr. Ambrose Straub, a St. Louis doctor, asked George A. Bayle Jr., the owner of a food products company, to process ground peanut paste as a protein substitute for toothless people who couldn't chew meat.

In 1897, J.H. Kellogg, who later became famous for his breakfast cereals, obtained U.S. Patent 580,787 for a "Process of Preparing Nutmeal," which produced a "pasty adhesive substance" that he called "nut-butter."

A few years later, peanut butter was first sold as a snack food in 1904 at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis by C.H. Sumner. It is a common misconception that George Washington Carver, a prominent Black inventor and botanist who focused on the uses of peanuts, invented peanut butter. Although he did not, he did add sugar and molasses to peanut butter formulas, giving it a sweeter taste and better consistency we enjoy today!

So just how many peanuts does it take to make a jar of peanut butter? Quite a few!

The National Peanut Board estimates it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. That's approximately 45 peanuts per ounce of peanut butter. If your family buys peanut butter in those large 40-ounce mega-jars, each one of those jars takes a whopping 1,800 peanuts to make!

Peanuts aren't just delicious, they're also nutritious. Peanuts are a good source of protein, vitamin E, niacin, and magnesium. Peanuts are also naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. Peanut butter may also protect against cardiovascular disease due to high levels of monounsaturated fats.

Fun peanut facts:

  • Peanuts aren't really nuts! They're technically classified as legumes, like beans, peas, and lentils.
  • Georgia produces more peanuts than any other state.
  • Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the United States: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • Americans eat approximately three pounds of peanut butter per person each year, or a total of more than 900 million pounds. That's enough to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon!
  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth.
  • The world's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich was created in Grand Saline, Texas, in November 2010. It weighed 1,342 pounds and contained around 300 pounds of peanut butter and 200 pounds of jelly.

Wonder What's Next?

Join us on a trip to the market for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!