Global Food, Health, and Society

A Colby Community Website for ST297, Fall 2018

Author: Claire Mepyans

Peanuts; A Brief History

processing the peanuts

BASIC PEANUT BUTTER RECIPE

2 cups (300 grams) unsalted shelled peanuts

1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 to 2 teaspoons honey

1 to 3 teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil, if needed

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350°F. Add the nuts to a round or square cake pan (or rimmed baking sheet). Roast nuts for 3 minutes, shake pan then roast another 3 to 5 minutes or until the nuts are lightly browned and smell nutty. Let cool until you can handle them.

If you are making crunchy peanut butter, add 1/3 cup of the roasted peanuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 6 to 8 times, or until the peanuts are chopped into very small pieces. Transfer chopped peanuts to a bowl and reserve for later.

Add the roasted peanuts to the bowl of a food processor. Process 1 minute then scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Process another 2 to 3 minutes until the peanut butter is shiny and smooth. Add your desired amount of salt and honey then process until combined. Check the consistency, if it seems too thick, add oil, a teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with it. For crunchy peanut butter, stir in the reserved peanuts1.

A Brief History of Peanuts & Peanut Allergies

A peanut dominant recipe, like this one, may sound appetizing and make your mouth water upon imaging the sweet, yet salty, smell of peanuts roasting in the oven. However, for many individuals, this smell is not only off-putting, but also deadly. In the US alone, 0.6-1.0% of the entire population has a peanut allergy. This means that at Colby College, a campus of around 2000 students, 12- 20 students would likely be allergic to peanuts, given this statistic. The interesting and complex history of both peanuts and peanut butter throughout recent years will be discussed in how it relates to current nutritional and dietary studies, especially in regards to peanut allergies2.

Continue reading

When Life Gives You Lemons

Lemon Squares Recipe

Crust:

1 cup butter, softened

½ cup white sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour 

Inside:

4 eggs

1 ½ cup white sugar

¼ cup all –purpose flour

2/3 cup lemon juice        

2 tbs. lemon zest

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Cream together the butter, 2 c. flour, and ½ c sugar. Press into the bottom of a 9x13in pan, ungreased. Bake for 15-20min.
  3. Combine the remaining sugar and flour by whisking. Add in eggs, lemon juice, and zest. Pour filling over the crust after baking.
  4. Bake again for 20 min. Allow bars to cool before serving so they have time to firm up.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar once cool. Cut bars into squares. Enjoy.

Finished lemon squares

Lemon Squares: A Study of Vitamin C

A major component of this lemon squares recipes is lemons. Today lemons are commonly used across various cultures in cooking, in dishes from lemon-garlic chicken to Peruvian ceviche. However, fresh fruits and vegetables have not always been so widely available as they are today, making this recipe a relatively recent innovation over the span of culinary history. A lack of these fresh foods presented itself in a debilitating condition known as scurvy, which plagued many sailors in the 15th century1. Those inflicted with scurvy experienced loose teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, slow healing wounds, and skin that easily bruised. Scurvy was also the main cause of death at sea since during this time, it was unknown but these sailors were experiencing a deficiency of vitamin C1. Various researchers attempted to pinpoint the underlying mechanism and cause of these symptoms but it wasn’t until Albert Szent-Györgyi’s discovery of absorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C, that resulted in a fundamental step in our current understanding of modern nutrition.

Continue reading