OMG! Peanuts Aren’t Actually Nuts—Here’s Why

This is totally nutty (pun intended)


It’s no lie that people are nuts about nuts—and for good reason, too. These tiny-but-mighty snacks pack a huge punch, helping you fight heart disease and boost your brainpower. And we’re willing to bet that you probably reach for peanuts when your tummy rumbles. As a matter of fact, the average American eats three pounds of peanut butter a year, according to the Texas Peanut Board.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with having a low-key passion for peanuts. They literally have the word “nut” in them, so there’s nothing to fear… right? Not so fast. Turns out, peanuts have been masquerading as nuts this whole time.

If you want to get technical about it, peanuts are actually considered legumes. While real nuts grow on trees, peanuts grow in pods that mature underground; other types of legumes, such as lentils and peas, also grow beneath the surface. Additional nut frauds include cashews, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. Botanically speaking, they are classified as seeds of the trees (or fruits!) they grow on.

Pecans and hazelnuts, on the other hand, are considered bonafide nuts. They also grow on trees, but unlike pistachios or almonds—which grow in small bunches—pecans and hazelnuts contain only one nut surrounded by a hard shell. If walnuts could talk, this is what they would say. 

Still, you can rest assured that calling these imposters “nuts” isn’t necessarily wrong in every context. “While their physical structure and nutritional benefits more closely resemble that of other legumes, their use in diets and cuisines more closely resembles that of nuts,” The Peanut Institute writes.

And that shouldn’t stop you from chowing down on these nutritional superstars, either. So, what are you waiting for? Reach for a handful of the healthiest nuts you can eat, ASAP! Next, is cucumber a fruit or vegetable?

[Source: Business Insider]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for