National Peanut Lovers Day is celebrated on March 15 every year. This day is dedicated to fans of peanuts and the legume itself. Wait, a legume? Yes, the peanut is, as a matter of fact, a member of the legume family (like peas, beans, or lentils). Did you know that the average American consumes about six pounds of nuts per year? Peanuts are more than just nature’s sweet snacks, they are also healthy and packed with important nutrients — especially protein. Scientists say nut eaters may live longer than non-consumers. Peanuts may be enjoyed alone, and or in various nut-based treats.
History of National Peanut Lovers Day
Peanuts, like every popular crop today, have come a long way. While the peanut is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions across the world, it is believed that the plant is native to South America. By the 1700s, the plant made its way to North America through Spanish explorers. Subsequently, Spanish returnees took peanuts to Europe with them, and cross-continental merchants took peanuts to Africa and Asia.
Although several commercial peanut farms existed in the U.S. as early as the eighteenth century, they were only a handful. For a long time, peanuts were almost exclusive to the southern U.S. This was largely due to the crop’s tedious cultivation and harvesting techniques, and partly because peanuts were believed to be food for the indigent. It wasn’t until after the Civil War that the demand for peanuts took off and grew beyond the southern U.S.
At the close of the nineteenth century, technological innovations simplified the production, harvesting, and processing of peanuts. This led to the growth and popularity of the industry. With high-tech, automated machines, it’s now easier to produce, package, store, and market peanut-based derivatives like butter, oil, and various tasty treats.
Four varieties of peanuts are common in the U.S. — the Runner, the Spanish, Valencia, and Virginia. The Runner is the most popular variety, constituting about 80% of the peanuts cultivated in the U.S., while sweet-flavored Valencia is the least cultivated type, accounting for less than 1% of peanut production in the U.S. Today, the U.S. exports peanuts to different countries around the world, with the crop contributing about four billion dollars to the economy annually.
National Peanut Lovers Day timeline
Ancient natives in South America make peanut-shaped jars and pots.
Farmers grow peanuts in South Carolina as a substitute for cocoa, food, and oil production.
Peanuts become popular among U.S. farmers.
Talented botanist George Washington Carver begins research into peanuts at Tuskeegee Institute.
National Peanut Lovers Day FAQs
Is March 1 National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day?
Yes, it is. It’s also the perfect day to indulge your sweet tooth!
What is National Peanut Month?
March is officially National Peanut Month. It’s the month to celebrate the peanut and everything that has to do with the nutritious, healthy legume.
What were peanuts originally called?
Peanuts were originally called ‘groundnuts’ or ‘ground peas’ in the 1700s.
National Peanut Lovers Day Activities
Visit the peanut capital of the world
Dothan, Alabama is known as the “Peanut Capital of the World”, and the city hosts the National Peanut Festival every year. Take a trip to Dothan to see peanut farms and catch a live experience of the harvest.
Share peanuts and love
If you can’t travel, that’s all right. You can also celebrate the day by sharing your favorite peanut snacks with your family and friends.
Enjoy peanut-ty treats
Peanuts remain one of the most versatile nuts. There are many ways to enjoy them in snacks, butter, oil, and so many more. Read about them and indulge!
5 Interesting Facts About Peanuts
Spending on peanuts
Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.
To make a jar of peanut butter
It takes about 540 peanuts to produce a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
Peanut farmers in the White House
Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Thomas Jefferson were peanut farmers.
A nickname from Congo
Goober — a nickname for peanuts — comes from ‘nguba,’ a Bantu name for ‘peanuts.’
For the love of peanuts
Americans eat about 800 million pounds of peanut butter (approximately 500 billion peanuts) each year.
Why We Love National Peanut Lovers Day
They’ve come a long way
Peanuts have traveled the world. National Peanut Lovers Day celebrates its humble origin and great history.
Peanuts are popular
It’s no coincidence that two-thirds of all snack nuts consumed in the U.S. include peanuts. Oil, butter — Americans love peanuts in all forms.
Peanuts are healthy
Peanuts consist of healthy nutrients — protein, vitamins, fiber, and good fats. Peanuts are also heart-healthy and are a good source of long-lasting energy.
National Peanut Lovers Day dates