The average American will consume more than six pounds of peanut products per year in the form of peanut butter, candy, roasted, salted, boiled and more. Despite not technically qualifying as a nut, peanuts are the most popular snack nut in the U.S., accounting for 67 percent of “nut” consumption.
With edible kernels encased in a shell, the peanut is classified as a legume, along with beans and peas.
Top Peanut States
Peanuts are grown in 15 states, with 55 percent being produced in the Southeastern states. The United States produced 6.7 billion pounds of peanuts in 2012 and ranks third in the world for peanut production behind China and India.
Georgia is the top-producing state, breaking the record for highest average yield with 4,555 pounds of peanuts per acre in 2012.
Types of Peanuts
Certain products require certain peanuts. Here are the most common types:
1. Runner – This type of peanut is commonly used for peanut butter. It accounts for 80 percent of peanuts grown in the United States.
2. Virginia – Known as the “ballpark” peanut, this snack nut is grown mainly in the Southeast and accounts for 15 percent of the United States’ peanuts.
3. Spanish – Often used for candy and salted nuts, these small, red-skinned kernels account for 4 percent of peanuts grown in the United States.
4. Valencia – All-natural peanut butter and boiled peanuts are the most common uses for this type.