Peanut: reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

peanutbutter_peanutsHi. Peanut here. Just came across this story from a major media outlet and I have to tell you – I’m surprised to learn that I’m no longer among the living.

1. Statement: “Peanuts have protein, too.”

Fact: Peanuts don’t just have protein, they have seven grams per serving – more than any other nut. That means lasting energy, whether you are an Olympic athlete or armchair quarterback. And ounce for ounce, you can’t find a more affordable source of protein.

2. Question: “Why are peanuts so unloved?”

Fact: Current research shows that 94 percent of U.S. households have at least one jar of peanut butter in their pantry. Americans spend almost $800 million each year on peanut butter and peanut butter consumption is up 9.1 % over the past 10 months, according to USDA.

3. Statement: “So the peanut is actually a legume – it’s not a nut.”

Fact: Tomatoes are actually a fruit, but you probably wouldn’t put them in your fruit salad.

The same idea hold true in the “nut” world. Botanically, foods we commonly think of as nuts aren’t true nuts (chestnuts and beechnuts are true nuts). Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are drupes, for example. Botanically, peanuts are legumes like chickpeas and beans. Peanuts also share the property of legumes in that they benefit the soil they’re planted in. Although peanuts and many tree nuts are not true nuts in the botanical sense, they have similar nutritional profiles and we eat them in the same ways. And as far as chefs are concerned, they fall into a common culinary class.

4. Statement: “I think part of the reason is just kind of the renewed focus on whole foods and health and the nutrition behind eating real things that aren’t so processed. I mean I know a lot of the peanut butters I ate growing up are probably not high quality peanuts you could find in the entire world.”

Fact: American peanut butter manufacturers use the highest quality peanuts in the world – and have done so for more than 100 years. There’s a reason why countries like China are eager to import our peanuts, when they grow their own: USA peanuts set the standard for quality.

Peanut butter today is remarkably similar to that produced a century ago. If you see a product labeled “peanut butter,” by law, it must contain at least 90 percent peanuts, with no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives.

Whether you like tried and true peanut butter or peanut butter in fun iterations like with dark chocolate, coconut or flaxseed, there’s plenty of variety available to pique your palate. (And you can always make your own.)

Now that the facts have been set straight, I want to reassure everyone that I haven’t gone anywhere – and it doesn’t look like I will soon. So to all you peanut and peanut butter fanatics out there: share this post and spread the love.

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