Easy Ways to Use Versatile Peanuts

Peanuts are rich, nutritious and versatile. Discover several classic ways to prepare them, and find inspiration for new peanut creations.
By Tabitha Alterman
August/September 2011
Add to My MSN

Honey roasted peanuts are simple to make, and their aroma is amazing. Serve ’em hot!
TIM NAUMAN PHOTOGRAPHY/WWW.TIMNAUMAN.COM
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Groupon for Greenies: A Site to Save You Money

Green America offers savvy shoppers daily discounts--and reassurance that they're buying green--thro...

Addictive Peanut Sauce Recipe

This creamy peanut sauce is a snap to make (no cooking required), and makes a great dip for raw veg...

Growing Protein

Learn which crops you can grow in your garden to provide protein in your diet.

RawCreations: More Carrot than Cheesecake

Our thoughts on the gluten free, dairy free, soy free desserts from RawCreations.

After pure oils, nuts are the richest foods we eat. The weak cell walls of these fat seeds lend them an appealing tenderness, while their oils make them mouthwatering. This characteristic richness is what made prehistoric guys and gals value nuts for nourishment, and it’s what makes squirrels and people store them away today.

Peanuts, though actually legumes, are one of America’s most prized nuts. We love our PB&Js and our grandmas’ peanut butter cookies. But we aren’t the only ones who’ve gone nuts for them. They flourish in the hot climates of Africa and Southeast Asia, where you’ll find them in all kinds of creative recipes that find their sweet spot where salt, sugar, spice and citrus happily coexist.

Mr. Peanut wears many hats (not just the black top hat sported by a certain peanut mascot). His uniquely nutty flavor is the product of hundreds of distinct compounds that range from fruity and flowery to fried and smoky, many of which can be altered or amped up by various cooking processes. One reason that peanuts boiled in the shell taste so terrific is because the shells contain vanillin, a sweet flavor enhanced by boiling. Red peanut skins also contain antioxidants and other compounds that transfer a depth of flavor to the nuts within if left on during roasting.

Among nuts, peanuts are second only to pine nuts in terms of protein content (26 percent), which makes them a pretty hearty stand-in for meat. And they’re practically second to none in their penchant for playing well with other foods. Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of The Flavor Bible, list nearly 60 foods that love peanuts: cayenne, coffee, fish sauce, mole sauces, pork, shrimp, strawberries and red wine vinegar, to name a few.

Not Just Versatility. Also Variety.

There are four major groups of peanuts: Valencia, Virginia, Runners and Spanish.

Valencias, which include the popular ‘Georgia Red’ variety, are the most common peanut in home gardens and have a wonderfully sweet flavor. Virginias develop huge nuts that are great for snacking. Runners are a dependably tough stock grown for commercial peanut butter production, but I recommend trying super-oily and crisp Spanish peanuts for making your own peanut butter.

Having freshly dug, moist, “green” peanuts on hand is a treat, but note that these are only available immediately after the fall peanut harvest season. Raw peanuts are green peanuts that have been air-dried (rather than roasted) to reduce the moisture level for year-round storage. If you don’t have a local source of raw peanuts, search Local Harvest to find a supplier. The following recipes are best prepared with green or raw peanuts.

Recommended Green and Raw Peanut Sources

Bertie County Peanuts
Hardy Farms Peanuts
The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue
Nuts Online
Whitley’s Peanut Factory 

Peanut Recipes

Easy Roasted Peanuts in the Shell Recipe
Honey Roasted Peanuts Recipe
Old-Fashioned Boiled Peanuts Recipe
Southern Peanut Stew With Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens Recipe
Fabulous Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe
Sweet and Spicy Peanut Brittle Recipe
Addictive Peanut Sauce Recipe 


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.