Information on the Peanut Plant, Its cultivation and Uses
Peanut plants probably originated in South America
Scientists believe that peanuts first originated in South America, probably in the valley area of Paraguay. Peanut plants are annuals that grow to be about 1-1.5 feet tall. The fruit of the peanut plant is the peanut that develops into a legume pod. In other parts of the world, peanuts are called by many other names such as monkey nuts, goober peas, pig nuts, and others.
Peanut plants were taken to China in the 17th Century
China has been growing peanuts since the 17th Century, when the legume was taken there by the Portuguese. Today, China is the largest producer of peanuts in the world, producing more than 40 percent of the world's peanut crop. India is another large peanut producer at almost 20 percent, and the U.S. produces about 7 percent of the world's peanuts.
Many southern states in the U.S. grow peanut plants
The Southern states of the U.S. have the right climate for growing peanuts since warmer weather is needed for this crop. A soil temperature of about 65-70 degrees is ideal for growing peanuts. Many farmers make a living off of growing peanuts as their only crop.
Peanuts are used in foods around the world
Peanuts are often ground up or chopped and then added to many different kinds of foods. This is the danger to those with a peanut allergy because it is often difficult to tell whether a food contains peanuts. The flavor of the peanut blends into sauces, cookies, chili, and other foods and cannot be readily detected by most people.
People allergic to peanuts need to be very careful about the foods that they eat
Because peanuts are often hidden in foods, people with allergies to peanuts need to carefully read every food label to see if peanuts are an ingredient in the food that they want to eat. Even a tiny amount of peanut or peanut butter can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The person with this reaction needs emergency care immediately since anaphylaxis can cause death within minutes.
Peanuts are very nutritious for those without allergies to them
According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts and peanut butter meet many of the dietary recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Peanuts have more than 30 essential vitamins and minerals and are high in fiber. They are a good source of vitamin E, fiber, magnesium and folate, and they are also a good source of niacin or vitamin B. They are also high in protein, with one serving containing 7 grams.
There are many great reasons to eat peanuts and peanut butter if you are not allergic to them
Peanuts and peanut butter are high in monosaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, the good fats that we need in our diets. Although many people believe that peanut butter makes you fat, it will only do that if you eat excessive amounts of it. A serving of 2 tablespoons is a healthy serving for adults. Peanut butter is an ideal lunch for children, but in fairness to school children with allergies to it, it is recommended that peanut butter sandwiches not be taken to school by many schools.
Peanuts are an inexpensive way to stop world hunger
Peanuts are easy to grow and cheap to buy, and they are an ideal food for those who are hungry around the world. The only problem with peanuts is that they are one of a handful of foods that can cause deadly peanut allergy symptoms and possibly anaphylaxis. In countries with food shortages, there are usually few medical facilities to treat children or adults who eat this food and develop a serious reaction to it.
Related Reading on PeanutAllergy.com
Sign up for our newsletter and receive a free peanut-free snack guide.
Stay on top of your allergy with the latest news, lifestyle tips and recipes.