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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Facts

Peanuts & Peanut Butter

Peanuts & Peanut Butter


  • The Five Civilized Tribes brought peanuts to the Indian Territory, planting them in small gardens. After the general settlement of Oklahoma Territory, residents also planted parcels of the nuts, often selling or trading them to neighbors.
  • The peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils.
  • The United States produces four basic varieties of peanuts: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia. Each type is distinctive in size and flavor. Runners are grown mainly in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma.
  • Georgia is the largest producer of peanuts in the U.S. Oklahoma normally places in the top 10.
  • The first peanuts grown in the United States were grown in Virginia.
  • The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year.
  • March is National Peanut Month.
  • Peanuts are planted after the last frost in April or early May.
  • Dr. George Washington Carver researched and developed more than 300 uses for peanuts in the early 1900s; Dr. Carver is considered "The Father of the Peanut Industry" because of his extensive research and selfless dedication to promoting peanut production and products.
  • Astronaut Allen B. Sheppard brought a peanut with him to the moon.
  • Tom Miller pushed a peanut to the top of Pike's Peak (14,100 feet) using his nose in 4 days, 23 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds.
  • Most USA peanut farms are family-owned and -operated.
  • The peanut plant originated in South America.
  • As early as 1500 B.C., the Incans of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life.
  • Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the USA economy each year.
  • The peanut growth cycle from planting to harvest is about five months.
  • The average peanut farm is 100 acres.
  • The peanut plant produces a small yellow flower.
  • Americans eat more than 600 million pounds of peanuts (and 700 million pounds of peanut butter) each year.
  • Peanuts flower above ground and then migrate underground to reach maturity.
  • Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA - Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • Adrian Finch of Australia holds the Guinness World Record for peanut throwing, launching the lovable legume 111 feet and 10 inches in 1999 to claim the record.
  • A mature peanut plant produces about 40 pods that then grow into peanuts.
  • Peanuts are a good source of folate, which can reduce the risk of certain birth defects in the brain and spinal cord.
  • The term "Peanut Gallery" became popular in the late 19th century and referred to the rear or uppermost seats in a theater, which were also the cheapest seats. People seated in such a gallery were able to throw peanuts, a common food at theaters, at those seated below them. It also applied to the first row of seats in a movie theater, for the occupants of those seats could throw peanuts at the stage, stating their displeasure with the performance.
  • Africans ground peanuts into stew as early as the 15th Century.
  • In the U.S., annual peanut production (about 1.5 million tons per year) often exceeds the production of beans and peas combined.
  • Worldwide, about 2/3 of the crop is processed for peanut oil.
  • Peanut oil accounts for 8% of the worlds edible oil production.

Peanut Butter

  • Peanut butter is the leading use of peanuts in the USA. Nearly half of the United States peanut crop is used to make peanut butter.
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Peanut butter was first introduced to the USA in 1904 at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis by C.H. Sumner, who sold $705.11 of the "new treat" at his concession stand.
  • The oldest operating manufacturer and seller of peanut butter has been selling peanut butter since 1908.
  • Peanut butter is consumed in 89 percent of USA households.
  • The world's largest peanut butter factory churns out 250,000 jars of the tasty treat every day.
  • Women and children prefer creamy, while most men opt for chunky.
  • People living on the East Coast prefer creamy peanut butter, while those on the West Coast prefer the crunchy style.
  • Sixty percent of consumers prefer creamy peanut butter over crunchy.
  • It takes two grindings to make peanut butter. The intense heat produced from one, long grinding would ruin the flavor of the peanut butter.
  • November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month.
  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.
  • The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school.
  • The world's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich was created in Oklahoma City on September 7, 2002, by the Oklahoma Peanut Commission and the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. The PB & J sandwich weighed in at nearly 900 pounds, and contained 350 pounds of peanut butter and 144 pounds of jelly. The amount of bread used to create the sandwich was equivalent to more than 400 one-pound loaves of bread.
  • The patent for peanut butter was awarded to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1895.
  • The amount of peanut butter eaten in a year could wrap the earth in a ribbon of 18-ounce peanut butter jars one and one-third times.
  • Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.
  • Americans eat enough peanut butter in a year to make more than 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That's enough peanut butter to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon.
  • Sliced peanut butter was developed at Oklahoma State University.
  • By law, any product labeled "peanut butter" in the United States must be at least 90 percent peanuts.