It’s National Peanut Month!
Yet again, we find a national holiday for as many food-related items as possible. Bet you didn’t know that March is National Peanut Month. Catch your breath; I know I just rocked your world. OK, maybe rocked is too strong a word. Stunned, shocked, staggered, or even astonished is also probably over the top but we are talking peanuts, folks…peanuts! Actually, up until 1974 it was just National Peanut Week, but wise men and women came to their senses, recognized the error of their ways and presto changeo, wisdom prevailed throughout the land and they gave the peanut the entire month of March. 31 days to celebrate the peanut. Take that Mr. Pistachio.
Are Peanuts Healthy?
I’ll cut to the chase and tell you right now that peanuts are great for you. Peanuts are loaded with vitamins and have an abundance of folate, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, choline, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E and rich in minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese and selenium. That’s right, the little peanut. They are sort of like the Superfood of the world of nuts and, actually, peanuts are really from the legume family. And if you are at the ballpark enjoying the game, well, toss the crackerjacks and focus on the peanuts. They are far healthier for you.
Did you know? A great American, Dr. George Washington Carver, developed more than 300 uses for peanuts back in the 1900’s and we aren’t even talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Two United States Presidents were peanut farmers, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter. And if you doubt the power of the peanut just chew on this for a moment, no less than a half-dozen cities in the good old USA are named Peanut. There is Peanut, California; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut, West Virginia. I have no idea what the nicknames of their high school football teams are but if you know, please contact me. Rock my peanuts.
I am not saying peanuts are the healthiest food anywhere in the world, but peanuts are loaded with monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that is emphasized in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. Studies of diets with a special emphasis on peanuts have shown that the mighty peanut does great wonders for a healthy heart. Studies have shown that a high monounsaturated diet that emphasized peanuts and peanut butter decreased cardiovascular disease risk by an estimated 21% compared to the average American diet. And you wonder why elephants live so long…
Here’s a couple of “Off The Wall,” Fun Facts About Peanuts.
- Chocolate manufacturers use 20 % of the world’s peanuts.
- I’m not making this up but a dude named Tom Miller pushed a peanut to the top of Pike’s Peak (14,100 feet) using his nose in 4 days, 23 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds. Why?? We’ll leave that up to your imagination.
- Georgia is the largest producer of peanuts in the U.S. Georgia produces almost 1/2 of the total U.S. peanut crop and more than 50% of the crop goes to peanut butter production. (We rock the world of peanut butter).
- India & China together produce almost 2/3 of the world peanut crop. Peanuts contain about 28% protein, 50% oil and 18% carbohydrates.
- Peanuts are also called goobers, goober peas, pindars, ground nuts, earth nuts, monkey nuts, and grass nuts.
- One acre of peanut plants yields about 2,860 pounds of peanuts.
- One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
- AND NO…elephants don’t eat peanuts. However, I wonder how they feel about PBJ’s ?
In parting, eat peanuts as they are good for you, AND seriously, if anyone from one of the towns called Peanut will contact me with the nickname of the HS Football team I’d appreciate it. My money is on the “Fighting Legumes.”
John Gregg is a former writer, reporter, anchor, and senior producer for NBC, ESPN, & PBS and the winner of four Emmys for his reporting.