Peanuts and baseball have been best friends since the late 19th century when baseball was recognized as the national pastime, and peanuts became a ballpark staple. In the late 1800’s, the USDA made a huge push to get more farmers to cultivate them because the peanut’s nutritional content is off the charts. By the 1930’s, peanuts were a common food in the USA. The popularity of peanuts dates to the American Civil War. Soldiers found that peanuts were a tasty and very affordable energy supply, and as the soldiers returned to their homes they brought their new love of peanuts along with them, creating a high demand for peanuts.
Their popularity as a wartime snack, plus advancements in peanut farming techniques and technology by George Washington Carver launched the once humble peanut into high demand. Peanuts were being farmed for consumption more than ever before, and it didn’t take long for them to find their way to what was becoming America’s Pastime- Baseball. Peanuts made a tasty and affordable snack to have during a baseball game and it wasn’t long before in-shell ballpark peanuts became a hit with baseball spectators. So it comes as no surprise that there was a push for the sale of peanuts at baseball games, where they could be snacked on throughout the often lengthy nine innings of the game.
Selling peanuts at baseball games started when a when a ballpark concessioner, Harry Stevens (the Babe Ruth of ballpark vending), sold advertising space on score cards at the games but, instead of a financial payment the peanut company paid Steven in peanuts, which he sold at the ballpark. Selling them at games is one thing, but how did they become such a hit? Well… “Take me out to the Ballgame” was written in 1908 and was a good reminder to fans to get up during the seventh inning stretch and grab some of these delicious snacks. It also helps that peanuts are salty and go great with refreshing beverages on a warm summer day at the park.
Vendors have a huge hand in the upsell of peanuts as well. At the local community baseball game or even at a professional stadium 9 times out of 10 you hear “Peanuts, Get Your Peanuts Here!” While that phrase dates back to corner peanut vendors after the Civil War, it has been co-opted by ballpark vendors and is now synonymous with baseball games. Some ballpark peanut vendors even become famous for selling peanuts- tossing them 20 to 30 rows to the delight of the spectators. Peanuts have become a staple of every ball field around the world, and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere!
In-shell baseball peanuts fill stadiums around the world. It's not a ballgame if you aren’t standing in a pile of peanut shells. People stand in long, slow-moving lines, hop across seats, and even step on a few feet trying to get to the vendors for more peanuts. This seems crazy to the average joe, however to baseball enthusiasts, this is just another day at the field. Baseball fans are fanatical about their peanuts with each MLB team selling upwards of 70,000 bags of peanuts a season (that’s a ton of peanuts). Baseball and peanuts will forever be a classic combination.
From humble beginnings in the Civil War to being sold in countless numbers at ballfields across the country, peanuts have a rich history in the United States. Peanuts will always be a staple for Baseball and Ballparks all over the world- but you don’t have to be at the ballpark to enjoy a bag of baseball peanuts. Turn your own at-home watch party into a day at the park with a beverage and a bag of virginia peanuts- just be sure to clean up the shells afterwards! Check out all of the varieties of Virginia Peanuts for sale on our site, or can you roast your own at home with the recipe below! Looking for a twist on the classic ballpark peanut? Try our zesty, in-shell Cajun Peanuts.
Oven Roasted In Shell Peanuts
Raw peanuts in the shell
Preheat oven to 350°
Place 1-2 lbs. raw peanuts in the shell one layer deep in a shallow baking pan.
Roast for 20-25 minutes
Allow to cool some before eating- enjoy!
TIP: Remove from the oven just before the desired doneness as peanuts will continue to cook as they cool.