Peanuts actually came from South America. The natives there ate peanuts as part of their regular diet. Peanuts were later placed on African slave boats that traveled to North America, and that’s how they found their way here. Since that time, the natives of North America fell in love with the tasty legume, and it has since become “The All-American Peanut.”
Peanuts are available in various forms- raw or roasted, shelled or unshelled, and salted or unsalted. They are enjoyed regularly at baseball games, at circuses, and as snacks on short airplane flights. It’s probably enjoyed most when it’s turned into a gooey butter and paired up with jelly in between two slices of bread. Approximately one hundred million jars of peanut butter are bought every year!
Not only do peanuts taste good, but they deliver a multitude of health benefits.
For example, peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats. These fats have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Peanuts are also rich in niacin, Vitamin E, magnesium and foliate.
Even though they are a legume- a vegetable- and not a fruit, peanuts contain resveratrol. Resveratrol is beneficial in protecting a person’s body from cancer and viruses. Not only that, but it’s an anti-inflammatory that can help slow down the aging process and promote longetivity.
Resveratrol is also found in red grapes. The reason that the French, who typically eat a diet that’s high in fats, have a low percentage of heart disease, is attributed to the amount of wine they drink. Therefore, eating peanuts can also reduce your chances of heart disease as well.
Peanuts also contain a significant amount of powerful antioxidants. They are high in protein, provide energy, and are a good source of fiber.
But their taste and their nutritional value are only two reasons why peanuts have been embraced by America. The All-American peanut also helped cotton farmers survive during the nineteenth century. Because their cotton crops were destroyed by boll weevils, farmers were encouraged by George Washington Carver
to plant peanuts instead. Carver was a botanist and an inventor who would eventually invent more than three hundred uses for peanuts.
Peanuts are a rather strange-growing plant. They start out as a flowering plant. As the plant grows, it becomes heavy. This heaviness bends the stalk over. As a result, the peanut plant grows into the ground. The peanuts actually mature underground. Each grayish-brown peanut shell contains two or three peanut kernels.
To buy the best peanuts, you should inspect the product for any sign of moisture or insect infestation. Peanut shells should be intact and not have damage. If you can, smell the peanuts. They should have a fresh odor, and not smell musty or old.
If the peanuts are still in their shells, store them in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture. Refrigeration will keep them good for approximately nine months.
Shelled peanuts should be kept in an airtight container and always be kept in your refrigerator to prevent them from spoiling. Shelled peanuts will stay good for up to three months in the refrigerator. They’ll stay good for twice that time if you freeze them.