Do you celebrate National Peanut Day every September 13? Of course, we all do! It's a cruel coincidence that the peanut's big moment comes every fall, just as kids are returning to their increasingly peanut-free schools. If you're not allergic, you probably love peanuts in your trail mix, on sundaes, or in sandwiches (butter form only). But how much do you really know about the protein-rich foodstuff? Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings is here to tell us that a lot of your favorite facts about this beloved snack are just plain nuts.
The Debunker: Are Peanuts Nuts?
Peanuts took a roundabout route to get to your kitchen cupboard. They were carved on pottery and left in Peruvian tombs five thousand years ago, and European settlers first ran across them in Brazil. Then the Portuguese spread them around the world, as far as Africa and China. But they didn't catch on in North America until African slaves returned them to the New World, planting them in Virginia. Dive bars and ballgames would never be the same again. In the 19th century, this new crop was often called the "ground nut" or the "ground pea"; our word "peanut" is a conflation of the two. But strictly speaking, peanuts are neither peas nor nuts.