George Washington Carver was an African American scientist who figured out that planting peanuts was good for the soil because the peanut plants released nitrogen which cotton plants needed to grow well. This idea really helped the cotton farmers grow healthy cotton, but it also meant that they ended up with lots of peanuts! In those days, peanuts were not really used or eaten by most people, so Mr. Carver got busy figuring out things to do with all those peanuts.
He created over 300 ways to use peanuts including making paste, shampoo, cooking oil, steak sauce and shoe polish! He also found ways to use them as food, but he did not invent peanut butter.
Today peanuts are one of the most popular food items we have. Not only do they taste good, but they are also good for you.
Here are some fun activities to do in honor of Mr. Carver and the peanut.
- Make homemade peanut butter – You will need 4 cups of shelled roasted peanuts, a little bit of cooking oil and a food processor. You can extend this activity by comparing your homemade peanut butter to some commercial brands or by putting “add-ins” like honey into your peanut butter.
- Grow a peanut in a baggie – Put one or two raw peanuts in a baggie along with a damp paper towel. Seal the baggie and observe it to see how peanuts grow.
- Plant some peanuts – Put some dirt in a flowerpot and plant some raw peanuts. Put the pot in a sunny window and make sure the soil stays moist, but not soggy. Keep a growth record of your plant. If you are diligent, you just might be able to harvest some peanuts!
For all the details to these activities, click here.
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!