Table of content A-Z

 

peanut

 

Synonym: ground nut; botanical name: Arachis hypogaea


Erdnuss

 

The peanut is an old cultivated plant from South America that reached Africa in the 16th century with the Spanish conquistadors during the slave trade. Today it is grown in almost all tropical and subtropical countries. The main producers include China, India and the USA. The USA supplies the most peanuts for consumption, while China and India for the most part produce peanut oil.


Availability


Peanuts can be bought throughout the year. Peanuts with shells are available mainly at the end of the year, from October to December; shelled nuts can be found independent of the season.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Strictly speaking, the peanut does not belong to the nuts botanically, but rather to the legumes, just like peas or beans. The peanut plant bears a similarity to the pea plant; however, following the inflorescence, the peduncles bend to the ground and grow several centimetres into the soil. This is where the pods with the peanut kernels develop. No nuts grow above ground. At the harvest, the plants are dug up and dried together with the still-attached peanuts.

Fresh peanuts are slightly bitter. When they are roasted they lose this bitterness, and the nuts take on their typical slightly sweet aroma.

The pod is wrinkled, narrows to the middle, and is yellow-brown. It is oblong and so soft that it can be shelled by hand. The pod usually contains two, sometimes three peanut kernels. These are oblong and light brown and covered with a thin skin.


Ingredients


Peanuts are rich in fibre and have the most protein of all nuts. They contain large amounts of vitamin B6 and folic acid and especially of vitamins E and B1 and niacin. Further, they are rich in potassium and magnesium.

100 g contain:

Peanut, fresh
Peanut, roasted
Energy (kcal)
5662
579
Water (g)
5
2
Protein (g)
25
26
Fat (g)
48
49
Carbohydrates (g) (g)
8
9
Fibre (g)
11
11
Vitamin E (mg)
11
9
Vitamin B1 (mg)
0,9
0,3
Niacin (mg)
20
19
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0,4
0,4
Folic acid (µg)
169
126
Potassium (mg)
660
777
Sodium (mg)
11
11
Calcium (mg)
40
65
Magnesium (mg)
160
182
Iron (mg)
1,8
2,3
Saturated fatty acids
8,8
9,0
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g)
23,5
24,1
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g)
13,7
14,1



Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


Shelled, unprocessed peanuts spoil faster than roasted, which is why unroasted peanuts are rarely found in the stores. Roasted peanuts have a long shelf-life if they are stored cool and dry. In a warm environment they become rancid quickly.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Peanuts are popular for nibbling, whether unshelled or already shelled from the bag or the tin. Shelled peanuts are normally sold salted. To improve the flavour and help them keep longer they are almost always roasted. Shelled nuts are dipped briefly in hot vegetable fat / shortening while unshelled peanuts are roasted industrially in large drums.

Peanuts are used a great deal in the baked goods and confectionery industries, but we shouldn't forget other products such as peanut curls or peanut butter. The latter is also frequently used in the production of chocolate, cookies / biscuits and pralines.

In some countries large portions of the peanut harvest are used for the production of edible oil. Earlier, even coffee and chocolate substitutes were made from peanuts.

You may be familiar with peanut sauce in Chinese or Indonesian cuisine, served with hearty meat satays.


Miscellaneous


Peanuts cause allergies in many people.

 

 

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