Did you know that peanuts have almost zero cholesterol? That’s just one of many reasons why peanuts are such a popular ingredient, snack and superfood!
History of National Peanut Day
While it has the word “nut” in its name, the peanut is actually not a nut at all but is technically a legume, closely related to beans or seeds. Peanuts grow underground and probably originated in South America around 1500 BC. They made their way around the world and became very popular in North America some time around the 1700s, but weren’t grown commercially for quite a few more years.
After PT Barnum’s circus began selling hot roasted peanuts, the snack grew in popularity. They even became popular at baseball games, a distinctly American pastime. Then, in 1904, peanut butter was introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Today, peanut farms in the United States are valued at more than $1 billion, making this a very lucrative business. Peanut butter accounts for around half of this business, while snack nuts and confections made with peanuts bring in the other half.
Now it’s time to celebrate National Peanut Day!
How to Celebrate National Peanut Day
Enjoy celebrating this day in a variety of fun and tasty ways!
Eat Some Delicious Peanuts
National Peanut Day is a chance to work some peanuts into a healthy diet, used in any way from tasty lunchbox snacks to as a tangy stir-fry sauce. Peanuts make a great snack that can be taken anywhere. And with more protein than any other nut, they are also nutritious. In fact, they’re so great that they are the top rated snack in the United States, making up ⅔ of the entire nut market in the nation. So grab some peanuts in celebration of this popular treat!
Incorporate Peanuts into Recipes
Even those who aren’t super creative when it comes to culinary artistry can still add peanuts to a variety of recipes. Starting with the simplest of combinations: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts (aka GORP). Add to that a little bit of chocolate with some other dried fruits and watch those boring peanuts turn into some full-on trail mix!
Peanuts can also be used in different types of recipes. Many Asian themed recipes use a peanut sauce with chicken, vegetables and rice that can taste even more delicious when a handful of peanuts are thrown in as a garnish.
One strange-sounding but also well-liked dish that’s fairly simple to make is the Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich. Just like it sounds, it can be made by spreading peanut butter on a slice of bread, adding some banana slices on top of the peanut butter, then topping it off with the second slice of bread. This sandwich was a well-known favorite of the King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley. In addition, former US President Bill Clinton was said to have enjoyed this sandwich while living in the White House.
Learn Some Fun Peanut Facts
Getting involved in celebrating National Peanut Day can be about more than just eating this clever little snack. Learning interesting trivia and facts about peanuts is a superb (and non-allergic!) way to share in the celebration of National Peanut Day. Try out these facts about peanuts on friends, family or coworkers in honor of the day, who will certainly be impressed with this type of knowlege:
- Two different Presidents of the United States have been peanut farmers as previous careers: both Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter have this in common.
- A 12 ounce jar of peanut butter requires approximately 540 peanuts to make it.
- Six different cities in the United States are named after this clever nut: Peanut, California; Peanut, Pennsylvania; Lower Peanut, Pennsylvania; Upper Peanut, Pennsylvania; Peanut, Tennessee; and Peanut, West Virginia.
- The average child in an American household will eat around 1500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time she/he graduates from high school. That’s a lot of PB&J’s!
Make Homemade Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a staple for children (and some adults), especially in American households. In fact, some statistics show that peanut butter is consumed in up to 94% of households in the United States. And although processed versions tend to have quite a bit of sugar, it’s also a great way to get protein into the diets of little ones.
Making peanut butter at home is actually a lot easier than it might seem. Plus, homemade peanut butter is much healthier than many store bought brands because it does not include as much sugar or those pesky preservatives.
To make homemade peanut butter, simply add 2 cups of dry roasted peanuts to a food processor (or high powered blender) and run the machine for 4-5 minutes. Stir in just a bit of honey (1-2 tablespoons) to include a bit of sweetness and add a pinch of salt if the peanuts were not already salted.
That’s it! Homemade peanut butter is super easy to make, delicious to eat, healthier and also probably more affordable than buying it premade from the store.
Enjoy Some Classic ‘Peanuts’ Comics or Cartoons
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and her brother Linus are just some of the characters that were featured in Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts comic strip. One of the most popular and influential comic strips of all time in the United States, this gang of short, clever children also included Charlie’s sister, Sally, as well as their friend Peppermint Patty, the less-than-hygienic Pig Pen, and piano-playing Schroeder.
The comic strip, whose humor is rather advanced and relationally driven, ran from 1950 for almost 50 years. It also launched into televised animated specials, books, a feature-length movie and even a stage musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Get Educated about Peanut Allergies
Enjoying peanuts and even sharing them with friends is a delightful way to spend National Peanut Day. Be sure to watch out for allergies, though! Today it seems that, more than ever, people (especially children) find out that they have a sensitivity or allergy to peanuts.
For some people, a highly sensitive peanut allergy can mean swelling up and even being unable to breathe if they are even in the same room as peanuts. So be sure to inquire about any allergies at the office or at a party before passing around that snack made with peanuts.