For centuries and millennia, they were wild. They grow from bushes, underground. They have spread to all countries in South America. They are that staple of going-to-school dishes.
Peanuts, of a domestic nature, are a new phenomenon, by the context of millennia and the evolution of plants. Scientists believe that the domestic peanut plant that we see today was a result of a hybridization of two wild peanut species, creating what was the first peanut bush that was edible.
The start of this is thought to be locations: Southern Bolivia or Argentina. But soon they’d spread–to Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay. Croppers would plant them in Central America and the United States. People would snack on them, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. From East Africa to Europe. And then the United States.
The growth and spread of peanuts across the globe is a testament to its delicious goodness. Peanuts become numerous household products: peanut butter, peanut oil, peanuts in mixed nut bags, peanut flour, and more. They are rich in protein, providing 15% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) in one serving.
Some short statistics show their popularity in America:
- Peanuts and peanut butter account for 67% of all nut consumption in the United States.
- 90% of U.S. households consume peanut butter. Most prefer it smooth to chunky.
- According to Little Brownie Bakers, an estimated 145,000 pounds of peanut butter are used during peak production to bake Girl Scout’s Do-si-dos and Tagalongs.
A man named Dr. George Washington Carver found over 300 uses for peanut butter in the early 1900s.
There are, without a doubt, great health benefits to consuming peanuts.
As mentioned, peanuts have a high degree of protein. This is important, especially for those that are trying to go meatless. Peanuts provide that necessary protein that builds and sustains muscle. According to the U.S. government, the amount of protein one needs in their diet is .3 times their body weight. Peanuts provide that protein, in a tasty bite size morsel.
Peanut butter, in addition to being delicious, is also a great source of protein. But unlike the regular peanuts, peanut butter has a wide variety of uses. It works on sandwiches (especially with jelly but also butter), in smoothies, on morning bagels, and simply just by itself. Peanut butter comes in all kinds of textures–from chunky to smooth. It can also be made with preservatives or all natural.
In fact, according to the U.S. Congress, peanut butter must be 90% peanuts by law.
Another great option for using peanuts is with peanut oil. The beautiful thing about peanut oil is that it tastes amazing but it also has a high burning point. This means peanut oil is perfect for deep frying and while it may leave a slight peanut taste, the ability to fry without the oil catching fire is a great benefit. This is just one of the peanut oil uses. Peanut oil for hair is beneficial too.
There are peanuts benefits for men and peanuts benefits for women.
There are peanut snack ideas as well. A couple of peanut snack ideas involves the use of other nuts (also called legumes) such as almonds and walnuts. For two peanut snack ideas, take some peanuts and put them in a bag with almonds, walnuts, and raisins; for the other, put peanuts in a bag and just add salt. Doubly good.