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The Origins Of Peanut Brittle Are As Varied As It’s Pieces

National Peanut Brittle Day is observed on January 26. A hard, flat candy confection, peanut brittle is enjoyed throughout the United States.

  • The history of peanut brittle is uncertain, though one legend says it was all a mistake. The story goes that in 1890, a southern woman was making taffy and instead of using cream of tartar, she used baking soda by accident.
  • The history of peanut brittle is tied to Tony Beaver, a lumberjack folk hero. In the story, Tony Beaver creates peanut brittle when he stops a flood using peanuts and molasses.
  • Some believe that peanut brittle originated in the American South. The fact that Civil War soldiers survived on peanuts because of its protein content, coupled with the Southern peanut farming boom in the 1900’s.
  • According to the history of peanut brittle candy, brittle was probably the first candy ever made.
  • “Brittle” , a flat hardened sugar candy, is thought to be one of the first candies ever made.
  • Peanut brittle made with corn syrups & nuts began appearing in cookbooks around the 19th century.
  • Because we find peanut brittle recipes most commonly in American cookbooks, it is generally recognized as an American recipe.
  • The term brittle first appears in print in 1892.
  • Traditionally, brittle is a mixture of sugar and water is heated to the hard crack stage corresponding to a temperature of approximately 300 °F.
  • In parts of the Middle East, brittle is made with pistachios, while many Asian countries use sesame seeds and peanuts.
  • A snake nut can or snake peanut brittle can is a practical joke device that closely resembles a can of nuts, but contains a long wire spring covered by a cloth or vinyl sheath, printed like snake skin, which leaps out of the can and startles the unsuspecting victim. The item was invented by Samuel Sorenson Adams of the S.S. Adams Co. circa 1915.
  • Rumor says that there’s enough mental stimulation in one peanut to produce 30 minutes of serious thinking. That may or may not be true, but peanuts are a good source of protein and the B vitamins, nutrients that help prevent “brain fatigue”
  • Peanut butter/peanut paste is the leading use of peanuts produced in the U.S. (1/2); followed by snack nuts and in-shells (1/4); and, candy and confections (1/4).
  • Peanuts are the #1 snack nut consumed in the U.S. Accounting for 2/3’s of the snack nut market.
  • Five of the top 10 selling candy bars in the U.S. contain peanuts or peanut butter.
  • Peanut oil is valued as premium cooking oil by cooks and chefs worldwide. Tasteless and odorless, peanut oil doesn’t transfer food flavors, has a very high smoke point (440 to 470† F.) and is high in the desirable mono-unsaturated fatty acids.


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