If your go-to favorite snack is peanuts, you might wanna take note that you are not actually munching on peanuts. Peanuts, despite their name with a “nut”, are legumes, which means they belong to the same plant-based family as lentils, beans, and soybeans. Peanuts grow in pods, so don’t go looking for them on trees.
Other forms of legumes, such as lentils and peas, also grow underground. Cashews, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds are part of this nut drudgery. So technically speaking, they are categorized as seeds of the trees (or fruits!) they grow on. It makes sense now when people call it ‘ground nuts’!
This is what the peanut plant looks like in a growing field:
The peanut plant is a short plant that can reach a height of 18 inches. It’s a unique plant because it blossoms above ground but bears fruit underneath. Long pointed pegs called the peduncles sprout from the plant’s fading blooms into the ground when it reaches approximately a foot tall. Peanuts are grown on these pegs, not on the plant’s roots.
Peanuts are harvested when the plant’s leaves turn yellow and the inner part of shells of the peanuts shows gold-marked veins. The pegs might grow brittle and shatter in the ground after that, making harvesting considerably more difficult.
The plant is then pulled out of the ground and left to dry in a warm, dry location until the leaves turn crumbly.
Regardless of what they are called and how they grow, peanuts have benefits of their own, and here’s some of it:
- Rich in protein and fat
- Low in carbs
- Excellent source of various vitamins and minerals
- Promotes weight loss
- Contains heart-healthy nutrients
- Gallstone prevention
Not only that, peanuts are used to make various products such as peanut oil, flour, and protein. Desserts, cakes, confectionery, snacks, and sauces are just some of the meals that employ these products.
There are so many ways to eat peanuts- it can be roasted and eaten as a snack, pureed into peanut butter, tossed into stir-fries, steamed, or added to baked goods. Although this snack can be really addictive, there are of course a few who are allergic to them, and having peanut allergies is quite common in both children and adults.
So the one thing you’ve always been nuts about isn’t really nuts!
Sources: How Stuff Works