Peanuts are rich in fiber, protein and folate. While they are prepared and eaten as a nut, they are actually botanically a legume.
Peanuts are great sources of fiber, protein, folate and other vitamins. While they are prepared, eaten and served just like a nut, they are really a legume. Peanuts come from the Leguminosae botanical family, which includes many other flowering plants and legumes. Peanuts and peanut butter are both easy, portable sources of nutrition and are perfect for vegetarian menus.
Peanut butter and plain peanuts are used in a variety of ways in healthy cooking. Their high protein makes most peanut products a good choice for curbing an appetite, and will keep you fuller longer than a carbohydrate-rich snack. Stir peanut butter into cream cheese for a quick dip for apple slices and celery sticks. Spread peanut butter over bagels and toast rather than using a butter spread. Chopped roasted and plain peanuts also make a quick addition for breads and stir fry dishes, giving crunch, flavor and a nutritional punch to the dish or recipe.
This unique legume can be home grown in the garden from raw peanuts themselves, which are available from specialty health food stores, or online markets. Plant them in early spring, when there will be no danger of frost, with temperatures above 65 degrees. They prefer a depth of around 4 inches when first planted, lightly packed, with a spread of around 6 inches apart with the individual rows spread up to 36 inches apart. Since they have a long tap root, it will be necessary to have a well-tended subsoil. They like warm weather, and require a dry curing before storing or being used.
- Peanuts are actually a legume from the Leguminosae family.
- There are four different types of peanuts: Runner, Virginia, Spanish, Valencia.
- Peanuts are mainly grown in these 10 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virgina.
- According to the American Peanut Council, peanuts are the United States’ 12th most valuable cash crop – with a farm value of over 1 billion dollars.
- Most peanuts grown in the US are grown for eating or processed for food use with about half of all peanut products eaten being peanut butter.
- George Washington Carver was a botanist who found the importance of peanuts being used as a rotation crop, and came up with many different ways to use peanuts including recipes, clothing dye, condiments and wood stains.
Peanut and Peanut Product Nutrition from the USDA:
- 1 oz peanuts contains 68 mcg Folate, 200 mg Potassium, 107 mg Phosphorus, 48 mg Magnesium and over 7 g of protein.
- 1 oz roasted peanuts contains almost 7 g of protein, 3.8 mcg Niacin, 50 mcg Magnesium and 166 calories.
- 2 tablespoons creamy style peanut butter contains 188 calories, 8 g protein, over 7 grams Monounsaturated fat, 24 mcg Folate, 208 mg Potassium, 115 mcg Phosporus, 49 mg Magnesium and 14 mg Calcium.
Peanuts make easy additions to salads. Try a Cabbage and Cilantro Slaw with Peanut Dressing using creamy peanut butter and dry roasted peanuts. A dish made of Grilled Tofu and Asian Slaw Salad with Edamame uses healthy peanut oil and dry roasted peanuts.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
- “Types of Peanuts.” Virginia Carolinas Peanut Promotions. 21 March, 2011. Web. Date of access 02 April, 2011.
- “Technical Information.” Peanut Standards & Specifications. American Peanut Council. Web. Date of access 02 April, 2011.
- Carver, George W. “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption.” AgriLive Extension Texas A&M. January 1940. Web. Date of access 02 April, 2011.