by ANDREA NIKOLAI, family and consumer sciences agent, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County
I moved here from Minnesota, and I was very excited to see that Florida grows peanuts. Most of Florida’s peanuts are grown in North Florida, especially the Florida Panhandle, but they can also be grown all the way down to Florida’s southern tip. Florida ranks third in the United States for peanut production.
At UF/IFAS Extension, we love supporting Florida agriculture; it is part of our mission. UF/IFAS started a peanut butter challenge in 2012, and it went statewide in 2020. Community members donate unopened jars of peanut butter of any size in a friendly county collection competition during the month of October to help combat hunger. The county that gets the most peanut butter wins! The jars then go to local food pantries just in time for the holidays.
You can contact your local extension office to find out about the peanut butter challenge in your county and where you can drop off peanut butter. Feel free to drive it to Polk County! We would be glad to help spread (pun intended) the love! Now, for some fabulous, fun facts about peanut butter.
Is buying peanut butter to donate, eating peanut butter, or eating peanuts a good idea? Yes! Peanut butter and peanuts are rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin B6, niacin, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin E, and they are a source of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Did you know peanuts have the highest protein content out of all commonly consumed nuts? In addition, peanuts and peanut butter are shelf-stable and from a product that is grown in many areas of Florida!
Did you know “Jif” was never named “Jiffy” peanut butter? This is apparently one of the notable instances of widely spread false memories. Also, did you notice that the Jif peanut butter logo looks almost the same upside down? Wow.
Florida, along with Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, grows the major proportion of peanuts grown in the U.S. According to the executive director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association, all major peanut butter brands contain some Florida peanuts; peanuts produced in the U.S. are mixed together before processing.
A couple other fun facts:
- Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the United States — Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
- The average adult eats almost 3,000 PB&Js in their lifetime.
- 36% say strawberry jam is their favorite, followed by 31% for grape.
- The farthest a peanut has ever been thrown is 124.4 feet. (This is more than 1½ tennis courts or a third of a football field.)
- For peanut butter to be labeled peanut butter, it has to contain at least 90% peanuts.
- About half of peanuts produced in the USA are made into peanut butter.
Want to hear a secret joke about peanut butter?
Never mind, you might spread it…
And that is it; in a nutshell.
More peanut facts: https://www.nationalpeanutboard.org/news/fun-facts.htm
For more information about the Peanut Butter Challenge, go to https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/peanutbutter/ or scan the QR code.