Friday, January 16, 2009

GW Carver: Prayer for peanuts

George Washington Carver (1864/5 – 1943) A Prayer for Peanuts

For years Southern farmers had been planting cotton season after season, depleting the soil and producing less every year. The boll weevil was cutting a destructive path through the South. Carver warned farmers that the cotton business would disappear, leaving famine and unusable soil. Carver ushered in a new era in agriculture in the South with crop rotation. He encouraged cultivation of sweet potatoes, peanuts and soybeans to restore the soil and provide much needed nutrients.

Carver wrote, “Conservation is one of our big problems in this section. You can't tear up everything just to get the dollar out of it without suffering as a result. It is a travesty to burn our woods and thereby burn up the fertilizer nature has provided for us. We must enrich our soil every year instead of merely depleting it. It is fundamental that nature will drive away those who commit sins against it. To me Nature in its varied forms is the little windows through which God permits me to commune with Him, and to see much of His glory, by simply lifting the curtain and looking in. I love to think of Nature as wireless telegraph stations through which God speaks to us every day, every hour, and every moment of our lives.”

When farmers did listen to Carver, they found themselves with a huge crop of peanuts and no market for them. Farmers were angry at Carver.

Carver writes, “Why, I just took a handful of peanuts and looked at them. ‘Great Creator,’ I said, ‘why did you make the peanut? Why?’ With such knowledge as I had of chemistry and physics I set to work to take the peanut apart. I separated the water, the fats, the oils, the gums, the resins, sugars, starches, pectoses, pentoses, pentosans, legumen, lysin, the ameno and amedo acids. There! I had the parts of the peanut all spread out before me. Then I merely went on to try different combinations of those parts, under different conditions of temperature, pressure, and so forth. The result was what you see--these 202 different products, all made from peanuts!” Source: National Wildlife Federation,

A Listing Of Products Developed from the Peanut by Dr. Carver:
George Washington Carver Foundation, Tuskegee Institute (University)

Foods: salted peanuts, breakfast foods #1-5, bisque powder, peanut meal #1-2, chocolate coated peanuts, peanut cake #1-2, dry coffee, instant coffee, peanut hearts, mock oysters, worcestershire sauce, peanut food #1, peanut sprouts, peanut tofu sauce, cream from milk, buttermilk, milks (numbering 32), curds, vinegar, crystallized peanuts, peanut relish #1-2, peanut chocolate fudge, peanut and popcorn bars, peanut bar #1, peanut tutti-frutti bars, lard compound, sweet pickle, cheese cream, cheese pimento, cheese tutti-frutti, white pepper (from the vines), cocoa, peanut kisses, peanut wafers, peanut butter (numbering 3), butter from peanut milk, pancake flour (numbering 11), peanut surprise, malted peanuts, peanut meal, meat substitute, chili sauce, peanut brittle, cream candy, peanut flakes (numbering 2), chop suey sauce, mayonnaise, peanut meat loaf, shredded peanuts, cooking oil, salad oil, mock meat, mock veal cutlet, mock chicken, mock duck, mock goose, peanut sausage, flavoring paste, oleomargarine, dehydrated milk flakes, caramel, butterscotch, evaporated milk, golden nuts, substitute asparagus, cheese nut sage, cheese sandwich, plain pickle, peanut dainties, bar candy.

Stock Foods: peanut stock foods #1-3, peanut hull stock food, peanut hull bran, hen food, peanut hull meal, molasses feed, peanut hay meal, peanut meal (numbering 3).

Beverages: peanut orange punch #1-2, normal peanut beverage, plum punch, cherry punch, peanut lemon punch, peanut punch #2, beverage for ice cream, blackberry punch, evaporated peanut beverage, pineapple punch.

Medicines: rubbing oil, tannic acid, emulsion for bronchitis, castor oil substitute, iron tonic, goiter treatment, quinine, laxatives.

Cosmetics: hand lotion, face cream, face bleach and tan remover, shampoo, shaving cream, face ointment, face powder, fat producing cream, toilet soap, pomade for skin, face lotion, vanishing cream, oil for hair and scalp, pomade for scalp, glycerine, all purpose cream, dandruff cure, and antiseptic soap.

Household Products: laundry soap and sweeping compound.

Dyes, Paints, and Stains: leather dyes (numbering 18), wood stains (numbering 17), special peanut dye, dyes for cloth (numbering 30), and paint.

General: fuel bricks, colored paper (from skins), newsprint paper (from vines), insecticide, gasoline, wood filler, plastics, lubricating oil, diesel fuel, writing ink, furnace coke (from hulls), white paper (from vines), paper (from hulls), coarse paper (from skins), glue, gas, metal polish, axle grease, illuminating oil, printers' ink, rubber, washing powder, hand cleanser, wall boards (from hull, numbering 11), sizing for walls, nitroglycerine, soap stock, linoleum, insulating boards (numbering 18), charcoal (from shells), soil conditioner, and shoe and leather backing.