Peanuts are undoubtedly one of the most popular types of foods we consume. From traditional PB and J to exotic curries, some of the world’s most scrumptious foods contain peanut products. But as much as we love these high protein snacks and delicious meals, we may not fully realize just how fascinating this ingredient really is. To that end, here are a few pieces of peanut butter trivia that will be sure to make you hungry for more.
“Peanut” is at least half-misnomer
If you’ve ever wondered aloud, “is a peanut a nut?” you might have been met with strange stares. But you were actually onto something! One of the most fascinating peanut facts is that peanuts are not, in fact, nuts at all. They’re actually legumes! That’s right: they’re much more closely related to garbanzo beans, soy beans, peas, and lentils than they are to hazelnuts, acorns, and chestnuts. So while the “pea” part is at least slightly accurate, the “nut” portion really isn’t. But whatever their classification, they’re still incredibly tasty.
Americans LOVE their peanut products
U.S. residents consume around 700 million pounds of peanut butter every year. When traveling abroad, many Americans find it hard to get their hands on something nutty. Since U.S. peanut farmers produce approximately 1.9 million tons of peanuts per year (and it takes around 540 peanuts to make just one jar of peanut butter), it’s clear Americans are more than willing to make sure the demand matches the supply. Some of our most famous presidents were peanut farmers, too: Thomas Jefferson became the first-known U.S. president to grow these legumes, while Jimmy Carter came from a peanut-growing family. So you could very well say that our nation’s love of peanuts truly has historic roots.
Peanut butter is vegan-approved
When someone makes the decision to become vegetarian or vegan, there’s suddenly a list of food items that are off-limits. Fortunately, peanut butter doesn’t have to be one of them. Most natural peanut butters are vegan and gluten-free, as the majority contain ground peanuts and salt. Others might have some extra oils and/or sugars added. Occasionally, some peanut butters will contain honey, so it still pays to read the label. But rest assured that you won’t have to give up that delicious flavor just because you want to steer clear of animal products.
It’s healthy (so you have an excuse to eat it!)
Eating peanut butter may feel like an indulgence (and in some candy forms, it can be), but it actually provides a huge host of health benefits. Of course, a more obvious piece of peanut butter trivia is that peanuts are a great source of protein. But they also contain amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients that may reduce your risk of heart disease, help you maintain a healthy weight, or even prevent the possibility of birth defects. When you want a snack that’s healthy and filling, it’s definitely all about peanuts.
It’s not just for eating
While peanuts and peanut butter are undoubtedly snacking superstars, their uses extend far beyond the edible. It’s the go-to remedy for removing gum out of one’s hair and can also remove leftover stickiness from glue and stickers. Some people swear by peanut butter for their pest control needs, while others use it as a hair moisturizer to make their locks more lustrous. And of course, it may be the only way to ensure your dog will take her medication (just make sure you use natural peanut butter, as any peanut butters with artificial sweeteners can harm pets). Feel free to just enjoy the taste, of course, but don’t rule out its other awesome uses!
How many pieces of peanut butter trivia did you already know? Did we make you hungry for a snack? To find out more peanut butter trivia and all about the benefits the peanut can provide, navigate around our site or contact The Peanut Institute.