From Old World to New World

The world-traveling peanut wins north and south.

Arachis hypogaea


The South American peanut was first grown by the Mayas and Incas. Conquistadors took it to Europe. It spread to Africa, then to North America. Although plantation owners snubbed peanuts as "slave food," Union soldiers ate them enthusiastically. After the War, someone--maybe an enterprising veteran--began to sell peanuts during baseball games.

Present Use

Agricultural chemist George Washington Carver encouraged hundreds of uses of peanuts, including peanut butter. By 1900 one-quarter of all peanuts were being pureed into this favorite bread spread. Today it is a multi-million dollar industry.

From Old World to New World