Peanuts are one of the world’s most popular snacks, and peanut butter is one of the most popular foods in the entire world. This is especially true when it comes to sandwiches, because a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the number one sandwich in the world!
No one knows for sure who the first people were to discover that peanuts are good to eat, but it was probably the people in Brazil. It didn’t take long, however, for the Inca Indians to learn the value and good taste of peanuts. In fact, the Inca Indians were the first known people to grind peanuts into peanut butter.
South American and Spanish explorers took peanuts to countries all over the world—including the countries in Africa. When Americans started bringing slaves over from Africa, they also brought peanuts. Today, peanuts are one of the top three snack foods in the United States and one of the top five favorite snacks in Europe.
So what exactly is a peanut
Peanuts are legumes. Legumes are a group of foods that grow their seeds in pods that split open on the sides. Peas, beans and peanuts are all members of the legume family.
Most legumes have soft pods and grow on top of the ground, but not peanuts. Peanuts grow under the ground and have hard pods we usually call shells. Peanuts are also different from other kinds of nuts because other nuts grow on trees and are not part of the legume family.
There are several different varieties of peanuts, but the four main varieties of peanuts are:
- Spanish peanuts
- Runner peanuts
- Valencia peanuts
- Virginia peanuts
Why peanuts are good for you
We already know that peanuts taste good and that peanut butter makes the best sandwich ever, but did you know that peanuts are also a very healthy treat?
Peanuts have lots of protein and B vitamins to give us energy and help us be able to think clearly. Peanuts don’t have any cholesterol. This means they don’t make it hard for our heart to beat and move blood through the body.
Some people are allergic to peanuts, though. This happens when your body thinks the protein in peanuts is something else—something harmful. Being allergic to peanuts is different than being allergic to other nuts.
If you are allergic to peanuts, DON’T EAT THEM.
How to eat peanuts
Most peanuts eaten for snacks are roasted. Roasted peanuts can be eaten salted or plain…and without the shell. You can eat them, raw, too, but they are bland or plain-tasting.
Peanuts are used to make peanut brittle and are added to candy and candy bars, granola and trail mix.
Peanut butter is also used to make peanut butter cookies. It is in some candy, too. Peanut butter is also good with bananas, apples, pancakes or waffles, toast, and on ice cream and in smoothies.
Boiled peanuts are peanuts cooked in very salty water until they are soft. People in the southern states in the US eat boiled peanuts every chance they get.
Fun peanut facts
- There are enough peanuts in one acre to make over 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches
- The world’s largest peanut butter factory makes over 250,000 jars of peanut butter every day
- 4 of the top 10 candy bars sold have either peanuts or peanut butter in them
- Americans spend $800 MILLION every year on peanut butter
- Most kids eat about 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before they graduate from high school
- Two US Presidents were peanut farmers; Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter
- Elvis Presley’s favorite snack was peanut butter and bananas
- Boys like chunky peanut butter better than girls do
- Peanut butter was introduced to the general public at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO in 1904
How do you like your peanuts
If you are not allergic to peanuts, ask your parents to help you boil peanuts. Give them a try and see what you think.
Do a peanut butter taste-test. Try 3 or 4 different brands of peanut butter. How are they different? How are they the same? Which one is your favorite?
Read more about Plant Facts for Kids