Six Facts About the Humble Peanut
They’re the perfect savoury accompaniment to a well-earned drink, or a high-protein, post-workout snack. You might spread them on your morning toast, or add them to a stir-fry. However you enjoy them ,it’s fair to say that the humble peanut is a great all-rounder.
There’s an impressive 50m metric tonnes of peanuts produced globally every year. But how much do you really know about the world’s favourite nut? Here’s six priceless peanut facts with which to wow your friends and family. You can thank us later.
“Nut” what you thought it was!
Despite having “nut” in its name, a peanut is actually a legume. Like soybeans, lentils and other legumes, peanuts are edible seeds that grow in pods.
Whilst commonly used in cooking, similar to other nuts, these edible shelled seeds (hasn’t quite got the same ring to it, has it?) share the same physical structure and nutritional benefits of legumes.
Whatever you call them, we can at least agree on one thing - they’re delicious!
Peanuts don’t grow on trees!
This one had you stumped, didn’t it? Well, you’re not alone! Many people believe that peanuts grow on trees, much like hazelnuts and chestnuts, when they in fact grow in the ground.
Much like their lentil and pea cousins, peanuts grow in pods that mature beneath the soil for 120-130 days. Well worth the wait, we say.
There’s more than one variety
Did you think that there’s only one type of peanut? Most people do - but there’s actually four main types of peanuts. Runners are the most popular variety used for snacks, and these are grown in both North and South America. Their larger cousin, the Virginias, are grown in China. The smallest type of peanut, the much smaller Spanish and Valencian varieties, account for just 5% of all production.
The Spanish peanut more than makes up for its lack of size with its off-the-chart oil content, the greatest of all the peanuts. Which leads us nicely into the next fact…
Well oil be damned
The majority of the peanuts produced every year are ground down by locals to be used for oil - and for good reason! Peanut oil has a light, mildly sweet flavour that doesn’t transfer to the foods that are cooked in it.
It’s also free of trans fat and high in monounsaturates. In fact, about 50% of the weight of a peanut is oil. You can even use them to make soap and some biodiesels. Who knew?
Did you know that it takes fewer than five gallons of water to produce an ounce of peanuts? To put that into context: a single ounce of almonds takes 80 gallons. For something so little, that’s a lot of sustainability power!
Peanut plants are also incredibly good at improving soil quality. They have the ability to absorb nitrogen from the air, and they can also produce it in the ground, which benefits other crops.
Where in the world?
China is the world’s leading producer of peanuts, accounting for nearly 41% of the total output worldwide. Peanut production in China is mostly concentrated in eastern provinces such as Henan and Shandong.
In the United States, southern states including Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Texas are the main growers of peanuts. Central and South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua also produce their fair share of peanut crops.
We take the ethical and sustainable sourcing of our high-quality peanuts extremely seriously. Over the years, we’ve forged meaningful, long-lasting relationships with many growers across the world.
Our buyers visit peanut farms, shelters and blancers, shellers and blanchers at source regularly. In the past two years alone, they’ve been to the US, China, Argentina and Brazil. Many of these businesses are family-owned which, as a family-run business ourself, means that we’re all on the same page.
It’s this dedication to sourcing that enables us to offer the best-quality peanuts year-round, satisfying peanut lovers across the UK!