Peanut – when nut not nut
Peanuts look and taste like nuts, have shells and skins. But they’re not nuts. Nuts grow mostly on trees or bushes. But peanuts grow underground and in some places they are called “groundnuts”. The scientific name is Arachis hypogaea. It belongs to the pea family, which also includes peas, beans, and clovers.
The peanut pod is a spongy shell covered with tiny dimples. Inside the shell you will usually find two peanuts.
Peanuts grow in warm sandy places. The peanut plant is a low bush. Small yellow flowers grow on the lower part of the plant. The cycle of growing peanuts from the moment of planting to harvesting takes 5 months.
Roasted peanuts are used in candy and baked goods, for peanut butter, and in many other foods. They are often grown just for their oil. The tops of the plants are fed as hay after the pods are removed.
The daily dose of peanuts for an adult is 20 nuts. In the US, peanuts are used in the manufacture of dynamite, when in Russia it is replaced by soybean.
The average American consumes at least three kilograms of peanut butter a year. 100 g of butter contains 884 calories.
Arachibutyrophobia is the fear that peanut butter will stick to the hard palate.
Dr. George Washington Carver made a lot of products from peanuts including peanut milk, cheese, coffee, ink, plastic, wood stain, plastics, shampoo, and shoe polish. He also introduced peanut butter to the American public.
Homeland of peanuts is South America – perhaps the foothills of the Bolivian Andes. The earliest information about peanuts is given by archaeological finds in Peruvian burial grounds of the period XII-XV centuries. These findings indicate that the Peruvians cultivated peanuts even before the appearance of Europeans there. With the discovery of America, peanuts were imported to the Moluccas and the Philippine Islands across the Pacific, and from there to India, Japan, China, Indochina and spread throughout the south of Asia.
Peanuts were brought to Europe by Portuguese navigators at the beginning of the 16th century, not from America, but from India or China.