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Are peanuts nuts?

January 10, 2017

My last post on whether potatoes are vegetables gave rise to numerous comments, so I thought I’d pose another question on similar lines to stimulate further debate: is a peanut a nut?

I’ve been told that it’s not; that in fact it is a legume. But that leaves me none the wiser. Legume is French for vegetable, I know that much. But whereas I wouldn’t be surprised to see peanuts in a bowl of mixed nuts, I’d be very surprised to see peanuts in a dish of mixed vegetables. What does it mean to say that the peanut is a legume, and why does that disqualify it from being a nut? What nut-bestowing quality does the peanut lack?

My own view is that peanuts come in shells, like nuts; they’re hard and dry, like nuts; and they can be nibbled, like nuts. So they’re nuts. And anyone who says they are not is also nuts.

By the way, please help to crowdfund my YA novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers – here is the link:

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One Comment
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    These seem like QI questions – strawberries are not berries but bananas and avocados are while peaches belong to the rose family. As is now well known the Five-a-Day target was arbitrarily chosen as part of an advertising campaign but has since become enshrined in policy. Baked Beans claim to count as one of the five but five portions a day would be inadvisable.

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