It’s about time a time-honored sandwich had its own holiday, and for the PB&J-lover in all of us, April 2 has been designated National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!
While the exact origins of the smooth, creamy, ubiquitous sandwich embraced by kids and “adult” kids alike have been somewhat disputed, most reports assign its burgeoning popularity to WWII when both peanut butter and jelly were found on military ration menus. With peanut butter an inexpensive source of protein for the troops, adding something sweet like jelly made it more of a treat, and returning servicemen reportedly made sales of both products soar back home in the U.S.
Earlier records identify peanut butter–once considered a delicacy and not affordable to all classes–paired with jelly on bread in the 1920s. A 2002 survey revealed that the average American child will consume 2,500 hundred PB&J sandwiches by high school graduation.
With peanut butter and jelly one of the nation’s favorite gastronomical go-to’s, why force all of that gooey goodness into the same old sandwich? Added to oatmeal or as a pancake or ice cream topper, used as filling in cupcakes and muffins, incorporated into popcorn balls, cake, fudge, milkshakes, and even with burgers, potatoes, omelets, and fish–all are excellent, inventive, delicious incarnations of the versatile salty/sweet duo, and as easy and fun to make as your family will have gobbling them up. Try these recipes for a tempting twist on PB&J, or invent some of your own!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Noodle Salad
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup Grape Jelly
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
8 ounces whole grain (or regular) spaghetti, cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Cook and drain spaghetti noodles. Chop and slice vegetables. Microwave chunky peanut butter with jelly in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 30 seconds; whisk until smooth. Stir together all ingredients. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 4.