Nov 13 2009

Peanuts, Pea-not-nuts

November 13th, 2009 at 3:06 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Something that always puzzles me is how certain things get classified in ways that don’t really make sense.

A classic example is the ever popular peanut. Also known as earthnuts or ground nuts, peanuts are not nuts at all. They are legumes, a fancy word for beans.

Peanuts grow underground or on the ground. Real nuts grow above ground, typically in trees.

However, popular culture has lumped peanuts in with almonds, cashews, filberts, and others.

That’s much like saying that tomatoes are vegetables. They are not – they are fruits. But someone decided at some point they should be classified as vegetables. Likewise, bananas are actually berries and not fruits, although for most of us that distinction is less significant.

All this false classification is almost too much for a logical person to handle.

Fortunately it’s Friday afternoon meaning that the weekend is just about here. Tomorrow we pack, and on Sunday we’ll be in Washington, D.C. We have a whole bunch of food things lined up. We’ll post the results of our food experiences here as they happen.