Peanuts continue to be the most popular nut, and for good reason. Not only because they are the most affordable, but also because they contain complex nutrients that are good for your health and for preventing disease.
Peanuts are the most nutrient-dense nut and contain more protein and arginine than any other nut. They consist of eight essential nutrients, are an excellent source of niacin and manganese, and are a good source of fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, copper and phosphorus. Peanuts also have potassium, phytosterols, resveratrol and healthy fats, all of which may benefit health and help prevent chronic disease.
Peanuts can be available in the markets year around. In the stores, different forms; shelled, unshelled, salted, and sweetened can be found for purchase. Try to buy unshelled (intact outer shell) nuts instead of processed ones. They are generally available in airtight packs and bulk bins. The pods should feature compact, off-white color healthy-looking shell, uniform in size, and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mold, and spots and free of rancid smell.
Unshelled groundnuts can be placed in a cool, dry place for many months, whereas shelled (without the shell) nuts should be placed inside airtight container and kept in the refrigerator to avoid them turn rancid.
Preparation and Serving Method:
Peanut kernels usually eaten as is, by cracking them with firm pressure between fingers or using clippers, or nutcracker machine. The nuts can also be enjoyed roasted, boiled, salted, or sweetened.
They are nutty, yet pleasantly sweet in taste. Roasting enhances taste, augments antioxidants levels like p-coumaric acid, and helps remove toxic aflatoxin.
Roasted and crushed kernels often sprinkled over salads, desserts, particularly sundaes and other dairy-based preparations.
Boiled peanuts possess unique flavor and taste. Boiling, in fact, enriches their nutritional and antioxidants profile.
Bumbu kacang (peanut sauce) is a well-known preparation that employs fried peanuts, palm sugar, shallot, galangal, garlic, tamarind, lemon juice, lemongrass, salt, chilli, pepper, sweet soy sauce, ground together and mixed with water to semi-solid texture.
Peanut butter is a food paste prepared from roasted nuts, with or without the addition of oil. It is popular throughout the world and commonly used as dip/spread. Peanut milk is also a favorite lactose-free healthy drink.
Peanut "chutney" or paste, made from these nuts, chili peppers, salt, coriander leaves, garlic and mustard seeds, is a popular dip among South Indian, Sri Lankan regions.
Peanut oil is another healthy source of edible cooking oil like soy or olive oils. It is widely employed in cooking for its aromatic flavor, especially in the many South Indian States, and Sri Lanka.