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Is a Peanut Really a Nut?

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a baseball game with my husband…doing what I love to do while there: cracking some peanuts and drinking a beer. It was while enjoying this ballgame ritual that the topic of our conversation turned to a question that Adam and I have discussed before. Where exactly do peanuts come from and are they really a nut?

I was pretty sure that peanuts come from the ground and not from a tree or bush, but none the less, I really wasn’t sure. Strange to think I didn’t know exactly everything about the cultivation process of something that I eat so often. So, since we have a “Things To Learn” site, I figured I would write a post about my findings…

First of all, I was correct! Peanuts DO grow in the ground. Apparently, peanut plants thrive in very sandy soil. After initial planting, the peanuts are ready to harvest after about 130 days of growing. When harvesting, you take the whole plant out of the ground, and give two to four weeks for the peanuts to dry out. After the drying process, you can roast them for eating!

I also discovered that…a peanut is not a NUT after allIn fact, they are considered to be a member of the legume, or “bean’ family.

Since they grow best in a warmer climate, it makes sense that they are mostly grown in southern states. The U.S. States responsible for harvesting peanuts are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. If you are looking to start growing your own, you will need to wait until next spring! Peanuts are planted in the spring (April or May) and harvested in the fall (September or October).

Now, next time YOU crack a peanut,  you will know where they come from too!

~ Amanda

Additional Reading:

How Stuff Works

How Do Peanuts Grow

Peanut Fun Facts

Wikipedia

 

 

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photo by: PugnoM

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