Short History About Peanut
The Peanut migrated to Sedley after originating in South America where archeologists have unearthed peanut-shaped jars made by the Inca Indians of Peru. It is believed that Spanish explorers carried peanuts from Peru to Africa and Asia. Considered a valuable food by the African natives, the peanut was eventually brought to the Virginia colony aboard slave ships. Although tobacco and cotton were the leading cash crops in the South, peanuts gained more popularity during the War Between the States. Both Union and Confederate troops relied on the food value and quick energy provided by the "goober pea".
As an important scientist in the late 1800s early 1900s, George Washington Carver worked diligently to invent many uses for peanuts and their shells. Maybe even more important than his inventions was what he taught farmers about the nitrogen fixing properties of peanuts. Rather than depleting the soil of natural nutrients, thanks to Dr. Carver, farmers began rotating their crops for a more sustainable environment.
In Southampton County, right around the corner from our home in Sedley, another inventor, Benjamin Hicks, was instrumental in making life easier for farmers. He invented new gas powered equipment for separating the peanuts from the vines. For many years, Southampton County grew more Virginia type peanuts than anywhere in the USA so at the turn of the century this equipment was quite valuable to local farmers.
When Dot Hubbard set her ideas into action, Amedeo Obici had already moved Planters from Pennsylvania to Suffolk, Virginia, about 30 miles away. What made Dot's peanuts different was the water-blanching process of dipping the peanuts in water before frying them in oil. She was visited by people from Planters who told her that her process was not something that could be scaled commercially. Until 1954, when Dot began selling Hubs, no one else had been successful in the market place. She was tenacious and worked hard and today, Hubs has a place in the Virginia Science Museum in Richmond, VA.
If you need educational materials for students or teachers you may contact our friends at Virginia-Carolina Peanut Promotions. You can reach them at: Virginia Carolina Peanut Promotions, Educational Service, P.O. Box 8, Nashville, NC 27856-0008, Phone (919) 459-9977, Fax (919) 459-7396
The largest of all peanuts, the Virginia peanut is the type used exclusively for Hubs and other gourmet snacks. It is also known as the "ballpark" peanut. Virginia peanuts account for about 15 percent of total U. S. production and are grown mainly in southeastern Virginia, northeastern North Carolina, South Carolina and West Texas. Virginias are a popular peanut used for all-natural peanut butter.
Uniform in kernel size (which allows for even roasting), the runner peanut is most commonly used for making peanut butter. It is typically grown in the states of Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Oklahoma; and accounts for 80 percent of the peanuts grown in the United States.
Known for its red skins, the Spanish peanut has smaller sized kernels and is used predominantly for peanut candy, salted peanuts and peanut butter. Its reputation of having the "nuttiest" flavor when roasted is due to its higher oil content. Spanish peanuts are typically grown in the states of Oklahoma and Texas and account for four percent of U.S. production.
Having three or more kernels per shell, the Valencia has a sweet flavor and is commonly used for all-natural peanut butter. Also, they are excellent for use as boiled peanuts. Valencia peanuts are grown mainly in New Mexico and account for less than one percent of U.S. production.