Influential food figures and ideas to honor them.
Join Publix as we celebrate Black History Month and the many contributions African Americans have made to the foods we grow and eat.
George Washington Carver
Scientist and educator George Washington Carver is often credited with saving agriculture in the South by convincing farmers to rotate cotton with soil-enriching crops like peanuts and soybeans. To help spread the popularity of the peanut plant, Carver invented more than 300 uses for it, including peanut paper, peanut milk, and peanut soap. By the 1940s, his work had helped make peanuts one of the top six crops in the United States.
Inventor Norbert Rillieux revolutionized the sugar industry and made it possible for more of the world to enjoy its sweet taste. Before he patented his triple evaporation pan system in the 1840s, refining sugar was a dangerous and costly endeavor. Workers were easily burned turning sugarcane into sugar crystals, because of the open kettle system. Rillieux covered the boiling kettles, which protected workers and reduced the amount of fuel needed. With his help, sugar went from a luxury commodity to an everyday household ingredient.
Celebrate Rillieux and treat your taste buds to an array of irresistible desserts! Get the recipes here.
Farmer Henry Blair’s inventions helped increase the efficiency of planting corn and cotton crops. In 1934 he received a patent for his corn planter, becoming the second African American to receive a United States patent. It looked like a wheelbarrow with a container on top for seeds, and rakes attached to the back that dragged soil over the seeds as farmers pushed the planter through the fields. It made planting corn much faster and involved less labor. Two years later, Blair received a second patent for a cotton planter.
In honor of Blair, bake Cheddar and Jalapeño Cornbread. Get the recipe here.