A peanut butter and jelly (or jam) sandwich, or PB&J, includes one or more layers of peanut butter and one or more layers of either jelly or jam on bread. Sometimes the sandwich is eaten open-faced or with one slice of bread folded over (effectively a "half sandwich"). The sandwich is quite common and popular in North America, especially for children; a 2002 survey showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 of these sandwiches before high school graduation.
There are several variations on the sandwich. For example, honey or sliced fruit can be substituted for the jelly component. On the flip side, the popularity of almond butter has inspired some aficionados to transition to "almond butter and jelly" (AB&J) sandwiches. Other nut butters are less common. Marshmallow fluff can also be substituted for the jelly, or simply added for extra flavor; this sandwich is called a "fluffernutter". Cream cheese, substituted for the peanut butter, makes a cream cheese and jelly sandwich. Nutella is another possible substitute for one of the spreads.
White bread may have been common in the past, but whole wheat bread can be used as a healthier option. Creamy peanut butter with jelly yields a very smooth sandwich, while chunky peanut butter and jam offers up a lot of texture. The sandwich may be served whole or cut. If the sandwich is left to sit, or prepared in the morning for lunchtime, then the jelly or jam may soak into the bread and create a soggy slice. The solution invented by sandwich-makers is to utilize the "barrier strategy", whereby a layer of peanut butter on each slice protects the bread from becoming soggy (see photo for "sandwich preparation").
Peanut butter was originally paired with a diverse set of foods, such as pimento, cheese, celery, watercress, and toasted crackers. In a Good Housekeeping article published in May 1896, a recipe "urged homemakers to use a meat grinder to make peanut butter and spread the result on bread." The following month, the culinary magazine Table Talk published a "peanut butter sandwich recipe. In the early 1900s, this sandwich was adopted down the class structure as the price of peanut butter dropped. It became popular with children by the 1920s as manufacturers began adding sugar to the peanut butter. Since World War II, both peanut butter and jelly were found on US soldiers' military ration list.
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with white bread, two tablespoons each of peanut butter and strawberry jelly, provides 403 kcal, 18 g fat, 58 g carbs and 12 g protein which is 27% of the Recommended Daily Intake of fat and 22% of calories.
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