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15 Nutty Facts About Peanuts

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Not only is March National Peanut Month, but today (March 15) is National Peanut Lovers Day! In honor of this world-famous food, here are 15 nutty facts about peanuts.

1. PEANUTS ARE NOT NUTS.

Just because the word “nut” is in their name doesn’t make them nuts. Peanuts are actually legumes! These tasty and popular little legumes grow underground and not on trees like real nuts such as chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns. Peanuts are edible seeds inside pods and are part of the Leguminosae family along with soybeans, chickpeas, peas, clover, licorice, and lentils. But for the sake of utter confusion, total chaos, and meltdowns around the world, let's just call them nuts.  

2. THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOU.

Peanuts are a great source of protein. They also contain other healthy nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. The amino acids in the protein are needed for growth and development.

3. PEANUT BUTTER IS A BRILLIANT INVENTION.

So who first thought of turning these tasty little legumes into a paste in the first place? Researchers believe the ancient Aztecs started mashing up peanuts hundreds of years ago. A more modern version began to surface in the 1890s.

4. THERE ARE OVER 500 PEANUTS IN EVERY JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER.

It takes approximately 540 peanuts to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. If you are good at math you can figure out that’s about 45 peanuts in every ounce of peanut butter.

5. SOMEONE IS GETTING RICH OFF OF PEANUTS.

In the United States, one of the world’s leading peanut exporters, peanuts are the 18th most valuable crop. The average yearly export is between 200,000 and 250,000 metric tons!

6. AN EARLY INTRODUCTION OF PEANUTS INTO ONE'S DIET CAN REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF PEANUT ALLERGIES.

In a study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States announced that early introduction of peanuts dramatically reduced the prevalence of peanut allergies, even if the child stopped eating peanuts when he or she got older. This confirms the guess that the very low rate of peanut allergies in Israel can be attributed to the popularity of Bamba, a puffed peanut snack available in some U.S. grocery stores.

7. AMERICAN PRESIDENTS LOVE PEANUTS.

Well, at least two of them did: Former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter were both peanut farmers! Jefferson was the first U.S. President known to grow peanuts. Carter’s connection to peanut farming dates back to his parents’ 360-acre farm; Carter himself began selling peanuts on the streets when he was only five years old.

8. PEANUT BUTTER IS ONLY PEANUT BUTTER IF PEANUTS MAKE UP 90 PERCENT OF ITS RECIPE.

These days there are so many brands of peanut butter to choose from, it can be hard to pick a favorite. But to actually be called “peanut butter,” the jar must contain 90 percent peanuts. This applies to traditional and natural peanut butter. The other ingredients in some jars may include oil, sugar or salt.

9. THERE’S A WORD FOR THE FEAR OF HAVING PEANUT BUTTER STICK TO THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH.

Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

10. SOME PEOPLE MAKE A PRACTICE OUT OF THROWING PEANUTS.

According to Guinness World Records, Colin Jackson holds the record for throwing a peanut the farthest—a total of 37.92 meters (or 124 feet, four inches). Which is hardly surprising considering this U.K. athlete is a former world champion hurdler, which means he’s had lots of practice breaking records.

11. PEANUT SHELLS HAVE MULTIPLE USES.

Leftover peanut shells can be used to make kitty litter, kindling, fireplace logs, or compost! If you use them as packing material, you are even helping out the environment as they are eco-friendly!

12. ONE FAMOUS PEANUT WEARS A TOP HAT AND CARRIES A CANE.

Photo courtesy Miriam Porter

That’s Mr. Peanut to you, and he has his own Twitter account. This famous nut that is known for rocking a monocle, top hat, and shoes turns 100 this year and makes his home at Planters. In 1999 he was given the NUTmobile, updated in 2015 to be a peanut-shaped vehicle that travels the country.

13. THERE IS ACTUALLY MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF PEANUT.

That’s right. There are actually four different types of peanuts from which to choose at your local megamart.

14. AMERICANS LOVE THEIR PEANUTS.

Peanut farmers in the United States produce approximately 1.9 million tons of peanuts each year. In fact, the average American eats more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products every single year.

15. PEANUTS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SAVE LIVES.

Plumpy’Nut © is a life-saving food consisting of a peanut-based paste that’s used to treat severe malnutrition in emergency situations. It is given to children in developing countries when they need to gain weight quickly. The United Nations has used this peanut paste to help save lives around the world.

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George Orwell's 11 Tips for Proper Tea Making
Public Domain // Mendhak // CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic (Wikimedia Commons)
Public Domain // Mendhak // CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic (Wikimedia Commons)

More than 70 years ago, in the January 12, 1946, edition of the Evening Standard, George Orwell wrote up 11 tips for making and consuming tea. Published under the title "A Nice Cup of Tea," Orwell noted that "at least four [points] are acutely controversial." That's a bold claim!

So what does it take to make an Orwellian cup of tea? Read on.

A NICE CUP OF TEA BY GEORGE ORWELL

If you look up 'tea' in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.
This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

FIRSTLY

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays—it is economical, and one can drink it without milk—but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea.

SECONDLY

Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities—that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

THIRDLY

Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

(Ed. note: a hob is a stove burner in this context. Depends a bit on what sort of pot you're using whether it's safe to put in on the burner!)

FOURTHLY

Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes—a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.

FIFTHLY

Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

SIXTHLY

Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.

SEVENTHLY

Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

EIGHTHLY

Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup—that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one's tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.

NINTHLY

Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

TENTHLY

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

LASTLY (SADLY NOT ELEVENTHLY)

Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don't like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

Orwell concludes:

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one's ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.

Let the arguing commence, tea lovers!

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Job Alert: The UK Needs a Chicken Nugget Taste-Tester

Do you like highly-processed chicken molded into mushy, breaded bites? Are you willing to relocate to England? Can your palate distinguish a savory nugget from a mediocre one? Your dream job awaits, AJC.com reports.

British retail chain B&M recently posted a job listing calling for a "chicken nugget connoisseur" to help the company get feedback on their new line of frozen food products. The chosen applicant—or applicants—will get a monthly voucher worth £25 ($34) to spend on frozen goods. Job duties consist of eating nuggets and other items and then providing B&M feedback.

The post describes the position as "temporary," so it's unlikely there's opportunity for advancement. If you care to apply, B&M will accept a paragraph describing yourself and why you’d be good for the job—though if you actually have a CV full of previous nugget-related positions, we're confident they'd love to see it.

[h/t AJC.com]

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