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Creating the Market for Peanuts

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When the tremendous benefits of George Washington Carver’s regime of rotating cotton with peanuts resulted in huge numbers of peanuts being grown, it created a dilemma. There wasn’t much demand for peanuts – we weren’t making peanut butter sandwiches or roasting peanuts or using them for candies. But Carter developed mind-boggling uses for this plant.  Paint pigments, different types of paper, sweeping compound, and charcoal were some of the items made from the shells or vines of peanuts. Peanut butter, oil, hand cream, face cream, soap and axle grease were made from the peanuts themselves. Also, Dr. Carver was way ahead of the fad for almond milk – he made a milk substitute from peanuts that can still be made for those who can’t tolerate lactose – so you can enjoy a glass of milk with your pb&j sandwich.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.