Did George Washington Carver Invent Peanut Butter?


The yummy taste of peanut butter is something that will encourage even the most finnicky of preschool eaters to the table for lunch. Combined with a favorite jelly on a sandwich, peanut butter has become a staple in a number of different homes. Made from ground peanuts that have typically been dry roasted, there are a number of different styles that are offered around the world today. Who invented this spread that comes in both smooth and chunky styles?

Many people believe that George Washington Carver invented peanut butter. Although Carver contributed much to the development of peanut products, he is actually not the person who is credited with its invention.

Peanut Butter Dates Back to Ancient Times

There is evidence that the local tribes who lived at the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Bolivia were the first to grow peanuts for cultivation purposes. Even the Aztecs have been shown to be grinding peanuts down into a paste to use as a food item. Although modern peanut butter often contains a vegetable oil, peanuts can make their own butter just by simple grinding.

As for those who are credited with the invention of this wonderful food product, the first person to patent a peanut butter product was Marcellus Gilmore Edson. He was born in Montreal and cooked a product from peanut flour that had the consistency of butter or ointment. The original patent included sugar as part of the process so that the butter would be slightly harder in consistency. He was first issued a patent in Canada, and then later in 1884 was given a US patent as well.

What is notable about Edson’s patents is that they differ in the description of what is created. The US patent describes a peanut product that is ground until a fluid or semi-fluid state has been reached.

What About the Different Types of Peanut Butter?

You can basically classify peanut butter into two different types: chunky and smooth. It was John Kellogg who started working with ways to prepare peanuts into different types of food and he tended to boil his peanuts to make them into a type of nut meal. He’d then serve the food product to his patients. About the same time, a man named George Bayle started making a snack that was peanut butter with roasted peanuts.

George Washington Carver did not actually invent peanut butter. He is credited, however, with finding over 300 different uses for peanuts that range from soap to paper because of his extensive research. It’s a logical assumption to believe that Carver created this yummy snack, but it had been around for some time. He does hold patents for peanut cosmetics, paints, and stains starting in 1925.

Although Carver did not invent peanut butter, he did leave a lasting legacy that proved the peanut was a much more versatile product than people thought. The next time you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, take a moment to thank all of these individuals for helping to refine the product to make it the consistent, healthy food product it is today.

Benefits and Facts About Peanut Butter