Not only is March National Peanut Month, but today (March 15) is National Peanut Lovers Day! In honor of this world-famous food, here are 15 nutty facts about peanuts.
1. PEANUTS ARE NOT NUTS.
Just because the word “nut” is in their name doesn’t make them nuts. Peanuts are actually legumes! These tasty and popular little legumes grow underground and not on trees like real nuts such as chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns. Peanuts are edible seeds inside pods and are part of the Leguminosae family along with soybeans, chickpeas, peas, clover, licorice, and lentils. But for the sake of utter confusion, total chaos, and meltdowns around the world, let's just call them nuts.
2. THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOU.
Peanuts are a great source of protein. They also contain other healthy nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. The amino acids in the protein are needed for growth and development.
3. PEANUT BUTTER IS A BRILLIANT INVENTION.
So who first thought of turning these tasty little legumes into a paste in the first place? Researchers believe the ancient Aztecs started mashing up peanuts hundreds of years ago. A more modern version began to surface in the 1890s.
4. THERE ARE OVER 500 PEANUTS IN EVERY JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER.
It takes approximately 540 peanuts to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. If you are good at math you can figure out that’s about 45 peanuts in every ounce of peanut butter.
5. SOMEONE IS GETTING RICH OFF OF PEANUTS.
In the United States, one of the world’s leading peanut exporters, peanuts are the 18th most valuable crop. The average yearly export is between 200,000 and 250,000 metric tons!
6. AN EARLY INTRODUCTION OF PEANUTS INTO ONE'S DIET CAN REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF PEANUT ALLERGIES.
In a study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States announced that early introduction of peanuts dramatically reduced the prevalence of peanut allergies, even if the child stopped eating peanuts when he or she got older. This confirms the guess that the very low rate of peanut allergies in Israel can be attributed to the popularity of Bamba, a puffed peanut snack available in some U.S. grocery stores.
7. AMERICAN PRESIDENTS LOVE PEANUTS.
Well, at least two of them did: Former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter were both peanut farmers! Jefferson was the first U.S. President known to grow peanuts. Carter’s connection to peanut farming dates back to his parents’ 360-acre farm; Carter himself began selling peanuts on the streets when he was only five years old.
8. PEANUT BUTTER IS ONLY PEANUT BUTTER IF PEANUTS MAKE UP 90 PERCENT OF ITS RECIPE.
These days there are so many brands of peanut butter to choose from, it can be hard to pick a favorite. But to actually be called “peanut butter,” the jar must contain 90 percent peanuts. This applies to traditional and natural peanut butter. The other ingredients in some jars may include oil, sugar or salt.
9. THERE’S A WORD FOR THE FEAR OF HAVING PEANUT BUTTER STICK TO THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH.
Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.
10. SOME PEOPLE MAKE A PRACTICE OUT OF THROWING PEANUTS.
According to Guinness World Records, Colin Jackson holds the record for throwing a peanut the farthest—a total of 37.92 meters (or 124 feet, four inches). Which is hardly surprising considering this U.K. athlete is a former world champion hurdler, which means he’s had lots of practice breaking records.
11. PEANUT SHELLS HAVE MULTIPLE USES.
Leftover peanut shells can be used to make kitty litter, kindling, fireplace logs, or compost! If you use them as packing material, you are even helping out the environment as they are eco-friendly!
12. ONE FAMOUS PEANUT WEARS A TOP HAT AND CARRIES A CANE.
Photo courtesy Miriam Porter
That’s Mr. Peanut to you, and he has his own Twitter account. This famous nut that is known for rocking a monocle, top hat, and shoes turns 100 this year and makes his home at Planters. In 1999 he was given the NUTmobile, updated in 2015 to be a peanut-shaped vehicle that travels the country.
13. THERE IS ACTUALLY MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF PEANUT.
That’s right. There are actually four different types of peanuts from which to choose at your local megamart.
14. AMERICANS LOVE THEIR PEANUTS.
Peanut farmers in the United States produce approximately 1.9 million tons of peanuts each year. In fact, the average American eats more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products every single year.
15. PEANUTS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SAVE LIVES.
Plumpy’Nut © is a life-saving food consisting of a peanut-based paste that’s used to treat severe malnutrition in emergency situations. It is given to children in developing countries when they need to gain weight quickly. The United Nations has used this peanut paste to help save lives around the world.