By Marly Koleno
Despite the misleading name, peanuts aren’t even actual nuts. Peanuts grow underground, unlike most other nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. Originating in South America around 3,500 years ago, peanuts have become a tasty incorporation into many snacks and recipes. With such popularity, it’s no surprise peanuts were made into a national holiday; every September 13th.
Harvesting peanuts used to be a difficult and unwanted task for farmers due to lack of farming technology, but their popularity began to grow around the time of the Civil War. The salty taste grew on the soldiers, as well as PT Barnum’s traveling circus. It didn’t take long for peanuts to become a staple in many of our favorite foods today. You’ll see them all over store shelves, ballgames, ingredient lists, and possibly one’s allergy restrictions. Although they are everywhere, peanuts are the number one allergy among children and the second most common among adults.
Some may wonder, why is there a national holiday for these nuts many cannot even consume? Peanuts actually had a large impact on America’s economical success, especially in the South when the boll weevil beetle started to destroy farmer’s crops. Dr. George Washington Carver didn’t spend a lot of time researching the peanut before he urged farmers to diversify into its uses. He published his research in 1916 and titled it, “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways to Prepare it for Human Consumption.” One hundred years later, we still use Dr. Carver’s research on peanuts in our foods, cosmetics, household products, medicines, and more.
With only a few more days before the special day for this ground nut, it’s important to know the history and importance of this “sort of” nut. Peanuts became of importance to America from the moment they were discovered, and they will continue their significance as time goes on. So go out to a ballgame, make a PB&J, or simply celebrate the economical and personal successes this nut has brought to us on Tuesday, September 13th. If you’re not allergic, of course.