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By: Lara Velez
Before I begin with the history of peanuts you should probably know that the Peanut is not a nut. The "pea"nut is actually more closely related to the pea. It is a member of the legumes family. Also, peanuts do not grow in trees like nuts do. They grow on the ground. They start out as flowers, and eventually wind up burrowing underground. Under ground is where they become a delicious Peanut.
OK - so where did these little guys come from you ask? Well, they are thought to have originated in South America...possibly Brazil or Peru. When the Portuguese began to explore "The New World," they took peanuts back home with them. Portuguese traders took them as far as Asia and Africa.
In the United States, peanuts became popular during the Civil War. Then around the 1900's many mechanical devices were invented to help with the processing of peanuts. As a result their popularity increased even more. Speaking of inventions...George Washington Carver invented over 300 uses for the Peanut, including; medicine, ink, soap, shampoo, ice-cream, and axle grease.
Today, peanuts are eaten all over the world. They have become a huge money making industry. In the United States alone they contribute well over 4 billion dollars yearly to the economy
Americans consume 700 million pounds or 3.3 pounds per person, of Peanut butter per year….that's enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon.
To enhance the flavor of a cola drink, Southerners put peanuts into the bottle.
peanut oil has a very high smoking point. This allows peanut oil to be heated to a higher temperature than most oils, making it an excellent choice for frying. Since peanuts are a legume, they reduce the need for additional fertilizers as they return nitrogen to the soil as they grow. HEALTH BENEFITS peanuts are packed full of healthy stuff, including; antioxidants, niacin, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, bioflavnoids, protein, and they have more resveratrol than grapes (which lowers LDL - aka "bad cholesterol") That's not all...Some medical researchers say that they lower the risk of heart disease and provide protection from some types of cancer (colon, prostate, and breast). Well, as you can see there are some great reasons to eat peanuts...as if the fact that they are delicious isn't enough. THE DARK SIDE Peanut proteins can act as powerful allergens, even in tiny amounts. That is why Peanut allergies are the most common cause of death by food in the United States. Some people can have a ruthless reaction just for inhaling the scent of a Peanut. People can die from very small amounts.
So, if your allergic to peanuts...or think you could be...don't risk even going near them. You can substitute almonds or any nut for any of the recipes below. For the cookies...you'll have to make your own 'nut butter.
Yummy...Peanutty Recipes Edit
Lara Velez may be contacted at http://www.therecipefinder.com RecipeFinderMail.com
About the Author Edit
My name is Lara Velez and I am the Editor-in-Chief of The Recipe Finder - Online cooking magazine - http://www.therecipefinder.com. I am also a wife and mother of two. I enjoy cooking, reading, scrapbooking, and being a wife and mom. Please feel free to email me any time. RecipeFinderMail@aol.com