National Peanut Month – March

National Peanut Month - March

National Peanut Month – March

NATIONAL PEANUT MONTH

How did National Peanut Month get started?

March celebrates one of America’s favorite snack foods…Peanuts! National Peanut Month had its beginnings as National Peanut Week in 1941, but later morphed into a month-long celebration in 1974. And why not celebrate this versatile food? Whether it’s the smell of their roasted goodness, the grinding of their essence into peanut butter or just being used to make healthier cooking oil, peanuts have found their way into many of the food items we consume regularly.

Well now, what exactly is a peanut? A Nut? No, a peanut or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) is a species in the family Fabaceae (commonly known as the bean, pea or legume family). Sometimes, you may hear peanuts referred to by Southerners as Goober or Goober Pea. This nickname for peanuts, was derived from the Africans who were enslaved during the 1600s and 1700s and called the plant “nguba” meaning “peanut.”

Peanut cultivation and popularity in American food culture can be attributed to Dr. George Washington Carver, nicknamed “The Father of the Peanut” for his tireless devotion to this versatile legume. In fact, in 1925, Carver published a bulletin called, “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption.”

Peanuts are a very valuable source of protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols, more than any nut. They also contain over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free and rumor has it that there’s enough mental stimulation in one peanut to give a person 30 minutes of serious thinking! Need a brain recharge, eat a peanut.

Even if that’s not the case, peanuts provide a serious source of protein and B vitamins to help prevent “brain fatigue”! So keep a bag nearby for that extra boost now and then. Enjoy!

Recipes containing peanuts can be found here: http://nationalpeanutboard.org/recipes/

Shawna BassArticle contributed by Shawna Bass

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