Why Are Peanuts Called Goober Peas?

Why Are Peanuts Called Goober Peas
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As a fan of peanuts, have you ever wondered why they’re also referred to as “goober peas”? It’s a curious term that’s been around for centuries, and its origins are shrouded in mystery. In this article, we’ll delve into the history behind this peculiar term and uncover the cultural significance of “goober peas.”

Understanding the origin of words and terms in history and culture is crucial for preserving our heritage. Peanuts have a unique history, and knowing why they’re called “goober peas” adds to our understanding of their cultural significance. So, let’s explore this fascinating topic together!

why are peanuts called goober peas? Let’s find out!

History of Peanuts

Roasted goober peas for sale at the market
Roasted goober peas for sale at the market

Brief History of Peanuts

Peanuts have a rich and storied history that dates back thousands of years. These legumes are believed to have originated in South America and were later brought to Africa, where they became a staple crop. It wasn’t until the 16th century that peanuts made their way to North America, thanks to Portuguese traders.

In the United States, peanuts quickly became a popular snack food. In the late 19th century, farmers in the southern states began to cultivate peanuts on a large scale, and the crop soon became a major agricultural commodity. Today, peanuts are grown all over the world and are enjoyed in a variety of forms, from roasted peanuts to peanut butter.

Introduction of Different Names of Peanuts Around the World

Despite their popularity, peanuts are known by many different names around the world. In the United Kingdom and parts of Africa, they’re commonly referred to as “groundnuts.” In India, they’re known as “mungfali,” while in China, they’re called “huasheng.”

In some parts of the southern United States, peanuts are still referred to as “goober peas,” a term that dates back to the 19th century. So, why are peanuts called goober peas? Let’s explore this further in the next section.

Origin of the Term “Goober Peas”

Vintage ad for goober peas featuring a boy and an elephant
Vintage ad for goober peas featuring a boy and an elephant

Explanation of the Term “Goober Peas”

“Goober peas” is a term that’s been used to refer to peanuts for centuries. But where does it come from? The term “goober” is thought to have originated from the African word “nguba,” which means peanut. “Peas,” on the other hand, refers to the shape of the peanut, which resembles that of a pea.

Historical Background of the Term

The term “goober peas” was popularized during the American Civil War. Soldiers on both sides of the conflict referred to peanuts as “goober peas” because they were used as a cheap and plentiful source of protein. Peanuts were a staple food for soldiers during the war, and they were often roasted or boiled and eaten as a snack.

After the war, the term “goober peas” continued to be used in the Southern United States and eventually spread to other regions of the country. Today, it’s a well-known term for peanuts and is often used in nostalgic references to the past.

Comparison of “Goober Peas” to Other Names of Peanuts

Around the world, peanuts go by many different names. In the United Kingdom, they’re called “monkey nuts,” while in Australia, they’re known as “groundnuts.” In some parts of Africa, they’re referred to as “earth nuts,” while in India, they’re called “mungfali.” Despite the many different names, “goober peas” remains a unique and interesting term that’s deeply rooted in American history and culture.

Folklore and Cultural References

Warm and hearty goober pea soup for a cold day
Warm and hearty goober pea soup for a cold day

Folklore Surrounding Peanuts and “Goober Peas”

Peanuts have been a part of our diet for thousands of years, and over time, they’ve become the subject of various folktales and legends. One such legend involves the African god of agriculture, who created the peanut by combining two seeds. According to African folklore, the peanut was then spread throughout the world by slaves who carried the seeds in their hair.

In the United States, peanuts were a staple food for enslaved Africans, who used them to create dishes such as peanut soup, peanut stew, and boiled peanuts. The name “goober” is believed to have originated from the Bantu word for peanut, “nguba.”

Cultural References of “Goober Peas” in Literature, Music, and Movies

“Goober peas” has also made its way into popular culture, with references appearing in literature, music, and movies. One of the earliest references can be found in Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories, in which the character Br’er Rabbit is depicted as a lover of “goober peas.”

In the music world, “goober peas” has been immortalized in the popular Civil War song “Goober Peas,” which was written by A.P. Martin in 1866. The song describes the soldiers’ love for the humble peanut, which they referred to as “goober peas.”

In the film world, “goober peas” has made cameo appearances in several movies, including Forrest Gump, in which the titular character teaches Elvis Presley how to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

The cultural significance of “goober peas” is undeniable, and its inclusion in literature, music, and movies is a testament to its enduring popularity.

Culinary Uses and Recipes

Peanuts are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. From savory to sweet, peanuts add a nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch to any recipe. Here are some of the most common culinary uses of peanuts:

Culinary Uses of Peanuts

  • Peanut Butter: One of the most popular uses of peanuts is to make peanut butter. Whether it’s spread on toast, used as a dip for fresh fruit, or added to smoothies, peanut butter is a staple in many households.
  • Roasted Peanuts: Roasted peanuts are a great snack on their own or can be added to salads, stir-fries, and trail mixes. They can also be ground into a powder and used as a coating for fried chicken or fish.
  • Peanut Oil: Peanut oil is a popular cooking oil that’s used in stir-fries, deep-frying, and baking. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for high-heat cooking.

Recipes Using “Goober Peas”

If you’re feeling adventurous, try incorporating “goober peas” into your cooking. Here are some recipes that use peanuts in creative ways:

  • Peanut Soup: This creamy soup is made with roasted peanuts, chicken broth, and spices. It’s a warm and comforting meal that’s perfect for chilly days.
  • Peanut Noodles: Peanut noodles are a popular dish in Asian cuisine. The noodles are tossed in a peanut sauce made with peanut butter, soy sauce, and chili paste.
  • Peanut Brittle: Peanut brittle is a classic candy that’s made with sugar, corn syrup, and roasted peanuts. It’s a sweet and crunchy treat that’s perfect for snacking on.

Experiment with different recipes and find new ways to incorporate peanuts into your cooking. With their versatility and nutty flavor, “goober peas” are sure to become a staple in your kitchen.


In conclusion, we’ve explored the fascinating history and cultural significance of why peanuts are called “goober peas.” We’ve learned that the term “goober pea” likely originated from Africa and was brought over to America through the slave trade. It has since become a beloved term in Southern culture, with cultural references in literature, music, and movies.

Peanuts, or “goober peas,” have been used in culinary arts for centuries, and we’ve provided some delicious recipes for you to try. They’re not only tasty but also packed with health benefits, making them a versatile and nutritious food choice.

At peasbenefits.com, we’re passionate about educating our readers on the benefits of wholesome foods like peanuts. We hope this article has been an informative and enjoyable read, and that you now have a deeper appreciation for the term “goober peas.” So, let’s keep spreading the word about the wonders of peanuts, or “goober peas,” and their place in our cultural heritage.