The 2nd of April is Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.
You just have to make a sandwich to take part in today’s festivities, so this is a very easy holiday to celebrate!
At least on the surface, at any rate….
The first complication is getting people to agree on what is meant by “jelly” here in this context. Many people say it should be taken at face value: it says jelly, so use jelly, as in the clear preserve spread made with fruit juice and sugar, with all the solids removed. Other people, though, say as far as they’re concerned, in this context it means jam as well, and as they prefer jam, that settles it in their minds.
One thing that appears to be true, though, is that jelly is apparently more popular with children than jam, perhaps because all the actual fruit bits are strained out and you’re left with just coloured, flavoured sugar water.
But what about the peanut butter? Should it be smooth, or crunchy? People will debate that as well.
Classically, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made on white, untoasted bread.
Here are some variations you may wish to consider to take things up a notch today:
- try your peanut butter and jelly sandwich toasted, or fried (like a take on a grilled cheese sandwich, except with peanut butter and jelly inside, instead of cheese);
- make peanut butter and jelly muffins, or cupcakes;
- make peanut butter and jelly squares;
- put some cooked slices of bacon in your sandwich;
- use slices of lemon loaf or pound cake as the bread (you could butter the slices and grill your “sandwich”, maybe serving it with whipped cream or ice cream);
- try spoonfuls of peanut butter and jelly on a dish of chocolate or vanilla ice cream;
- if you work at a cafeteria or at a shelter that gives out lunches, maybe put peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the list of menu choices today;
- make your sandwich healthier by buying sugar-reduced or sugar-free jelly, and using whole grain bread.
If there are children in the house, remember this is a great holiday to get them involved in, as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a very easy dish for children to prepare for themselves.
Some companies, such as Smuckers, Berryhill and Shedd’s, sell the peanut butter and the jelly already conveniently swirled together in one jar, so you don’t have to buy two separate jars.
The earliest print mention of a “Peanut Butter and Jelly Day” in April that CooksInfo has seen dates from 1999 in Tennessee:
“You may want to put this on next year’s calendar: On April 2nd, it’s National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. This year, the flagship store [of East of Chicago Pizza Company] in Willard, Ohio, gave away free slices of peanut butter and jelly pizza all day.” — Hodge, Tom. Peanut Butter and jelly now available on pizza. Johnson City, Tennessee: Johnson City Press. Monday, 23 August 1999. Page 6, col. 3.
For several years from around 1999 to around 2002ish (estimated), the Georgia Peanut Producers association sponsored a Peanut Butter and Jelly Day both at the legislature in Georgia, and in Washington, DC. They would hire someone to dress up as a peanut, and they gave out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to politicians. The day they picked, which varied in date, was in March as part of National Peanut Month.
It’s unclear who opted for an April date, or why.
Claves, Erica. Is there a wrong way to make a PB&J? The internet says ‘yes’. Today TV show. 2 April 2018. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.today.com/food/best-national-peanut-butter-jelly-day-recipes-t125540
Ewing, Michelle. 5 ways to celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Dayton, Ohio: Dayton Daily News. 2 April 2018. Accessed March 2021 at https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/national/ways-celebrate-national-peanut-butter-and-jelly-day/aK2UFi0HKWFZ2JnV9DMkJN/
Ward, Matthew. April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Memphis, Tennessee: WMC5 News. 2 April 2019. Accessed March 2021 at http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/2019/04/02/april-is-national-peanut-butter-jelly-day/