Peanut has a high nutritional value. It contains a wealth of fat and protein. It is measured that peanut has 44% -45% of fat, 24-36% of protein, and 20% of sugar. And it also contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and other vitamins. It is also rich in mineral content, especially those containing essential amino acids, which can promote brain cell development and enhance memory function.
The domesticated peanut is an amphidiploid or allotetraploid, meaning that it has two sets of chromosomes from two different species, thought to be A. duranensis and A. ipaensis. These likely combined in the wild to form the tetraploid species A. monticola, which gave rise to the domesticated peanut. This domestication might have taken place in Paraguay or Bolivia, where the wildest strains grow today. Many pre-Columbian cultures, such as the Moche, depicted peanuts in their art.
Archeologists have dated the oldest specimens to about 7,600 years, found in Peru. Cultivation spread as far as Mesoamerica, where the Spanish conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (the plant’s Nahuatl name, whence Mexican Spanish cacahuate and French cacahuète) being offered for sale in the marketplace of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The peanut was later spread worldwide by European traders. In West Africa farmers were already cultivating a plant from the same family, the Bambara groundnut, which also grows its seed pods underground.
Although the peanut was mainly a garden crop for much of the colonial period of North America, it was mostly used as animal feed stock until the 1930s. In the United States, a US Department of Agriculture program (see below) to encourage agricultural production and human consumption of peanuts was instituted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. George Washington Carver is well known for his participation in that program in which he developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts.
Peanut stalks just after the fall of the flowers. What remains of the flower is crimson-colored, and cone-shaped to dig the ground better. The ovary is whitish and already thicker than the stalk.
Pollinated Peanut pod stalks shoots which will grow into the soil, where the tip of the shoot will become a peanut. The shoot on the left of the image has already entered the soil.
Track-type peanut harvester.
The orange-veined, yellow-petaled, pea-like flower of the Arachis hypogaea is borne in axillary clusters above ground. Following self-pollination, the flowers fade and wither. The stalk at the base of the ovary, called the pedicel, elongates rapidly, and turns downward to bury the fruits several inches in the ground, where they complete their development. The entire plant, including most of the roots, is removed from the soil during harvesting. The fruits have wrinkled shells that are constricted between pairs of the one to four (usually two) seeds per pod.
Peanuts grow best in light, sandy loam soil. They require five months of warm weather, and an annual rainfall of 500 to 1,000 mm (20 to 39 in) or the equivalent in irrigation water.
The pods ripen 120 to 150 days after the seeds are planted. If the crop is harvested too early, the pods will be unripe. If they are harvested late, the pods will snap off at the stalk, and will remain in the soil. They need an acidic soil to grow preferably with 5.9-7 pH.
Peanuts are particularly susceptible to contamination during growth and storage. Poor storage of peanuts can lead to an infection by the mold fungus Aspergillus flavus, releasing the toxic and highly carcinogenic substance aflatoxin. The aflatoxin-producing molds exist throughout the peanut growing areas and may produce aflatoxin in peanuts when conditions are favorable to fungal growth.
Harvesting occurs in two stages: In mechanized systems, a machine is used to cut off the main root of the peanut plant by cutting through the soil just below the level of the peanut pods. The machine lifts the “bush” from the ground and shakes it, then inverts the bush, leaving the plant upside down on the ground to keep the peanuts out of the soil. This allows the peanuts to dry slowly to a little less than a third of their original moisture level over a period of three to four days. Traditionally, peanuts were pulled and inverted by hand.
After the peanuts have dried sufficiently, they are threshed, removing the peanut pods from the rest of the bush.
Cultivation in China
Recently harvested peanut plants stacked by a village house near Wuhan
The peanut was introduced to China by Portuguese traders in the 17th century and another variety by American missionaries in the 19th century.
They became popular and are featured in many Chinese dishes, often being boiled. During the 1980s, peanut production began to increase so greatly that as of 2006, China was the world’s largest peanut producer. A major factor in this increase was the household-responsibility system, which moved financial control from the government to the farmers.
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- Red and Yellow Pepper
- Green onion
- Oil (Olive Oil)
- Soy Sauce
- Chinese Vinegar
- Wash the peanuts and let it dry
- stir constantly with a spatula to ensure uniform heating of peanuts
- Remove peanuts when there is a slight color change in the skin. You can also base your judgment on the sound. If there is a “bla, bla” sound, it’s time to remove it.
- Remove the fried peanuts. It will not become crispy until it cools down.
- Mix soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and a little salt.
- Add some small dices of red and yellow bell peppers, and the sauce prepared above. Mix well and be ready to serve.
- When you fry the peanuts, you should put the peanuts and oil at the same time. Mix them well when the pan is still cold. So when the oil is heated up, the peanuts are ready as well. This will also add crispy taste into the fried peanuts.
- You can also add some parsley, diced carrots or cucumbers if you prefer. It’s totally up to you! This is truly an amazingly easy and healthy recipe that everyone in your family will love.