Cracking the Shell on Annual March Celebration

March is national peanut month, and I am not talking about Peanuts ™ with Snoopy and Charlie Brown but peanuts the food. A common misconception in the peanut world is peanuts and nuts — which share the same surname — are related. However, peanuts are part of the legume family, while most nuts are tree nuts having grown on a tree.

Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe, also known as Mr. Peanut, has been an icon in the legume family for over a century. National peanut month began as a week-long celebration in 1941 but soon after became a whole month in 1971. Although there is no specific reason as to why March, it just feels right.

Peanuts are believed to have first originated from Brazil or Peru and have spread to the rest of the world throughout history. They worked their way up to Mexico and the rest of North American while Spanish explorers brought them to Europe, Africa and Asia. Once they arrived in North America George Washington Carver, an American agricultural scientist and inventor, taught Americans how to grow various crops. Carver studied different peanuts, soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes and found over 300 uses for peanuts. In doing so, Carver changed the lives of many poor farmers and the agricultural industry today.

Since then, peanuts have become a staple in the snacking industry and an icon at ballgames, the circus, and Five Guys. Peanuts have become a snacking giant because of their nutritional value as a great plant-based protein snack. The benefits of peanuts include protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protecting against heart disease.

Today the peanut industry brings in four billion dollars to the U.S. economy every year. So the next time you eat a peanut, remember how it even got to you and how great a snack it is.

Post authored by GSC Vice President Isai Lujan.