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Creamy and CrunchyAn Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food$
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Jon Krampner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162333

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162333.001.0001

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The Social Rise of the Peanut

The Social Rise of the Peanut

Chapter:
(p.14) Two The Social Rise of the Peanut
Source:
Creamy and Crunchy
Author(s):

Jon Krampner

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231162333.003.0002

This chapter charts the social rise of peanuts in the United States. About half of the American crop of peanuts is turned into peanut butter, a quarter is used to make snack nuts, and a quarter winds up in peanut candies. When refined, the peanut makes a good-quality cooking oil that can be heated to high temperatures without smoking. Jackson County, in the central Florida panhandle, is one of the most prolific peanut-growing counties in the country. A number of festivals are held in different places to celebrate the peanut, including Dothan, Alabama; Wilson County, Texas; Grand Saline, Texas; and Suffolk, Virginia. During the Civil War, the Northern naval blockade of the South forced the Confederacy to use peanut oil as a substitute for whale oil to lubricate machinery, and southern house wives used peanut oil instead of lard as a shortening in bread and pastry and as a salad dressing, instead of olive oil. Around the turn of the twentieth century, machinery was invented that made harvesting peanuts more efficient, turning them into a viable, large-scale cash crop.

Keywords:   peanuts, peanut butter, United States, peanut oil, cooking oil, Jackson County, festivals, Civil War, cash crop

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