Today we’re celebrating National Peanut Lovers Day. Being an avid lover of the legumes, I am celebrating my own relish of peanuts by digging through a few facts about the crop. Oh, and unearthing some deliciously nutty recipes too.
A few peanut facts from the National Peanut Board:
- The average American consumes nearly 6 pounds of peanut butter and peanut products each year.
- Four varieties of peanuts are grown in the U.S.: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia.
- Runner peanuts, which account for 80 percent of U.S.-grown peanuts, are commonly used for making peanut butter. This type of peanut grows in Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
- Virginia peanuts are the large ones like what you would find at the ballpark, and they’re also commonly used to make all-natural peanut butter. They are grown in southeastern Virginia, northeastern North Carolina, South Carolina and West Texas, and account for about 15 percent of peanuts grown in the U.S.
- Spanish peanuts, also known as redskin peanuts, have smaller kernels, higher oil content and a nuttier flavor than other types of peanuts. Accounting for about 4 percent of peanuts grown in the U.S., they grow in Oklahoma and Texas and are used to make peanut candy, salted peanuts and peanut butter.
- Valencia peanuts, mainly grown in New Mexico, have a sweeter flavor and are commonly used in all-natural peanut butter.
- It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
- By law, peanut butter must be at least 90 percent peanuts.
- Americans spend almost $800 million on peanut butter each year (so here’s to hoping peanut butter doesn’t go up in cost!)
- The peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils.
- Peanuts and peanut butter contain more than 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients.
Alabama is a leading producer of peanuts in the U.S., ranking second nationally. To learn more about how Alabama farmers are rotating peanut and cotton crops to prevent the depletion of nutrients in the soil, see this article in Alabama Agriculture.
And because I can’t think about peanuts for this long without wanting to snack on a few, here are a few recipes for my fellow peanut lovers:
Thai Tuna Burgers with Ginger-Lemon Mayonnaise
Chopped dry-roasted nuts add something different to this burger recipe.