In the last few decades there has been a sharp increase in the number of people who are allergic to peanuts. According to an article in the June 24, 2006 issue of New Scientist, “Allergenic foods are often things a population eats a lot of,” and “Today, the average American eats 3 kilograms of peanut products per year…” (from “Dining with Death” by Anna Gosline).
Part of why peanut products have become so popular is that, more than many other plants, the fruit of Arachis hypogaea lends itself to so many different uses. Cultivated by ancient cultures in South America, and later transplanted to North America and Africa, the peanut has shown itself to be dazzlingly adaptable to both edible and non-edible purposes.
The famed American botanist George Washington Carver is said to have found 300 uses for peanuts, including cloth dyes, wood stains, cosmetics and wall boards. Here are six more intriguing uses for the humble groundnut.
Emergency Shaving Cream: Creamy peanut butter works best, although crunchy might have a nice exfoliating effect.
Chewing Gum Remover: Is there anything more annoying than getting gum stuck in your hair? Work creamy peanut butter into your clothing or hair to remove the sticky mess.
Adhesive Remover: In the same vein, peanut butter can be used to remove adhesive labels from jars and cans.
Bird Feeder Fodder: Didn’t everyone make a pine cone-and-peanut butter bird feeder as a kid? Don’t forget the birdseed!
Health Elixir: Signs and Wonders peanut milk, a mixture of ground peanuts, water and sugar, created at San Francisco’s KK Cafe by Jack and Margaret Chang, is reputed to have amazing health benefits. To learn more about it, see Peanut Milk at Interesting Thing of the Day.
Sandwich Filler: Although PB and jelly remains highly popular, other options include the Fluffernutter (peanut butter and marshmallow creme) and the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (Elvis’s favorite).