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What If I Told You That Peanuts Aren't Nuts At All?

Isn't that nutty?! (Sorry, I'm not sorry.)

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But you'd be wrong, because most edible nuts grow on trees, whereas peanuts grow underground in pods, which make them legumes.

Creativ Studio Heinemann / Getty Images

According to the New World Encyclopedia, peanuts are considered a nut in the culinary sense, but "in the botanical sense, the fruit of the peanut is a woody, indehiscent legume or pod and not a true nut."

A true nut is both the seed AND the fruit (like an acorn or chestnut), but peanuts are botanically a seed that comes from fruit and can be removed from the fruit.

So when you're eating peanut butter, you're having a nut in the culinary sense — because we've coined it as a nut — but really, you're eating yourself some legumes. More like pea spread on toast, if I may.