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Cooking with Fresh Roasted Peanuts

Peanuts


Peanuts are not true nuts; they are legumes. They do not, however, grow by hanging on the plant, as do beans. When the flowers wither, they droop down to the ground, pushing a sort of spike into the soil where the pod develops. Fresh peanuts must be carefully lifted out of the soil somewhat like potatoes. Raw or dried, but un-roasted, peanuts can be cooked in any way that beans can be prepared. Un-salted roasted peanuts can also be cooked like dried beans and give a delicious smoky flavor to dishes. They do not need to be pre-soaked before cooking.

Also called round nuts, shelled peanuts may be a New World vegetable, most likely originating in Brazil. It is possible that Native Americans knew of the peanut's value as a food long before the first Europeans arrived on the scene. Since the fifteenth century, however, peanuts have spread to many other parts of the world, primarily, wherever it is hot and humid. Peanuts like a lot of heat and sun to mature. In Africa, India, and China, substantial amounts of peanuts are grown and eaten, but the United States grows more than any other country.

The shelled peanut is a versatile plant. The peanuts are not only eaten, they are also pressed to extract cooking oil. The nuts and shells have been used in thousands of processes from animal fodder to paper products.

While unsalted roasted peanuts are relatively high in fat, they contain no cholesterol. They are high in fiber, protein, vitamin E, iron and potassium.

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