¨ Peanuts are fairly high in vitamins B1 and B3, as well as magnesium, phosphorus and folate.
¨ New research has shown that peanuts have high antioxidant contents- even rivalling the antioxidant contents found in many fruits and vegetables.
¨ Peanut oil is great to cook with (unless you are allergic to peanuts) as it burns at a relatively high temperature and has a mild taste.
¨ The peanut grows itself – after pollination and fertilization of the flowers occurs, the stalk (peg) below the fertilised plant ovary elongates and curves downward towards the soil. It usually takes about 10 days after fertilisation for the peg to penetrate into the soil. About a week after soil penetration, the peg tip enlarges and pod and seed development begins. The peanuts then mature over the next 9 to 10 weeks.
¨ Most peanuts need lots of calcium in the soil to develop good nuts. This is usually supplied with gypsum.
¨ Peanuts are widely sold for garden bird feeding.
HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN:
Buy some peanuts, they need to be raw, not roasted and it would be easier to plant them if they have their shells. Make sure you don’t eat the raw peanuts as they contain toxins that can be fatal.
Plough the ground 2-6 cm deep.
Before you plant the peanuts, crack each shell of every peanut lightly to enable the water to reach the seeds (the peanuts), this speeds up the growth process. Plant peanuts after the last frost (in Winter) in very sandy soil and make sure your soil drains well. Peanuts grow more better when grown in bunches.
Add a couple centimetres of mulch on top of the surface if it appears that the ground is too hard to grow peanuts or if you have a lots of weeds.
Space peanuts 15 centimetres apart, making sure the kernels stay whole. If the kernels split, they won’t grow.
Water well when planting, but not again until the peanut plant sprouts. This should take about a week. When you begin watering them regularly do not over water as the flowers of the plant would not grow and the peanuts wont grow similarly.
Allow 130 days for plants to mature.
Harvest in the fall by pulling the whole plant out with a spading fork. You will see a mature nut when you pull it out of the ground. Once you have harvested your peanuts dig in the leftovers to feed the soil.
Allow peanuts to dry for two to four weeks.
Store in a cool, dry place until ready for roasting.
¨ Peanut shells are put to use in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, and fuel. They are also used to make cellulose (this is used in rayon and paper) and mucilage (glue).
¨ Peanuts can be used (like other legumes and grains) to make a lactose-free milk-like beverage; peanut milk.
¨ Peanuts are legumes and legumes have a handy ability of converting atmospheric nitrogen into nitrate fertiliser. They do that on the root, in little nodules or bacteria converters.
¨ There is a new breed of peanuts called Hi-Oleic Peanuts. These are naturally bred, they contain a free fatty acid combination similar to olive oil, i.e. with more monounsaturated fatty acid. This composition provides greater stability for a longer shelf life and improved performance as well as providing health benefits for consumers. As a result, Hi-Oleic peanuts are attracting strong interest in both international and domestic markets. The advantages of the Hi-Oleic peanuts are listed below:
¨ Increased shelf life
¨ Better product performance
¨ Export opportunities
¨ Cost savings on packaging
¨ Improved mouth-feel (crunchier)
¨ Improved flavour and flavour stability