There was a time when peanuts were kid food, pigeon food and coupled with the circus and elephants. Gradually we learned the people of Africa make a delicious soup of peanuts with tomato and hot spices. The people of Thailand and East Indians cook with them too. Moving along, it became very clear that peanuts can be a huge curse to the allergic, and we best not serve recipes to company with peanuts without announcing it first. The latest is the good news. We learn peanuts rival Q10, improve brain health, blood flow and carry many treasured antioxidants. So, if you’re seen muching them, “It’s a good thing.”
Peruvians ate peanuts back in 3,000 BC, Much later the peanut turned up in Europe, then in Africa. Slave ships brought them to the West Indies and North America. By 1845 peanuts went on sale to the public in Nashville. Next confederate Civil War soldiers took a liking to them and carried them further north. It wasn’t long before P. T. Barnum presented the “new” food at his circuses.
Snack peanuts sell as in-shell peanuts, raw peanuts, dry roasted, roasted & salted peanuts, roasted no-salt peanuts, Spanish peanuts with the redskins, blanched cocktail peanuts, honey roasted peanuts and Creole spiced, also Cajun fried. Sweets with peanuts appear as brittle, chocolate-covered peanuts and of course, as countless commercial candy bars. Peanut butter was the first use for peanuts in the home, and then snacks, now chopped peanuts are turning up in soups, salads and entrees.
President Carter, himself a large-scale peanut farmer and processor, explains the remarkable antics of the goober in the growing field. “The peanut plant blooms above ground, then sends tiny, pointed tendrils about the size of a toothpick down to pierce the surface of the earth. And after it is about two-inches deep, the pointed “pin” matures to become a peanut …”
The peanut, is not a nut but a legume, or a bean. Legumes enrich soils with nitrogen, and peanut-friendly soils are all located in warm climates.
· Georgia grows the most.
· A St. Louis doctor invented peanut butter for patients with few teeth.
· Peanuts are also called ground nuts.
· Folks in the eastern U.S. prefer the smooth spread for bread. On the west coast they want chunky.
· Peanuts contain 26 percent protein, higher than eggs, dairy products, many meats and fish.
· Peanuts are rich in vitamins E and K.
· Peanut butter can be counted as protein in daily protein tallies.
· They contain a high percentage of unsaturated fat, known as the “good” fat.
· Certified cholesterol-free by the Peanut Advisory Board and American Dietetic/American Diabetes Associations.
· Two tablespoonsful contain 200 calories.
Peanut butter tales contain many sticky, delicious confessions:
What do you slip into your peanut butter sandwich? Raw carrots? Raisins? Bananas? Bacon bits? Marshmallow Fluff? Lettuce? Celery? Pickles?
Some, it seems, want ketchup and baloney, or just plain salami in theirs.
Others think salted tomatoes do the most for the spread.
We thought apple wedges smeared with peanut butter sounded very good.
We didn’t like the sound of peanut butter sandwiches with anchovies or sardines
SOME USES IN TODAY’S KITCHENS:
Chop peanuts either by crushing them with a rolling pin or spin them very briefly in the blender, processor or coffee grinder.
Use them in pasta, vegetable sauces, poultry stuffing and sprinkle over soups, salads, curries, casseroles and ice cream.