Peanuts: are they legumes or dried fruit?

During the Christmas period, and in general throughout the cold season, it is common to consume large quantities of peanuts. Want how snack over the course of the day, you want how whim to end the meal, they are a decidedly pleasant snack to nibble on. And, for the most part, it is a natural product, even if eating it in excess may not be good for you, especially if we are talking about those that are already peeled, salted and fried, often served with aperitifs. Many people, however, keep asking themselves one question: Are peanuts legumes or dried fruit?

Are peanuts legumes or dried fruit?

You automatically tend to think it’s theirs crunchinessfor the aesthetic characteristics similar and out of habit in the consume them at the end of lunchpeanuts are included in the category of dried fruit, the same as walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Revelation: It’s not like that! Peanuts are instead legumes, like peas, beans and lentils. Like legumes, in fact, they grow underground and not on a tree like dried fruit. Indeed, if you think about it, there are walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, but there is no peanut tree.

Peanuts grow underground

The peanuts familiar to us are the fruits of the plant Hypogea peanuts. They belong to the family of Legumeslike beans, to the class of Magnoliopsida and in the order of fabales. The plant has yellow flowers which, after fertilization, are buried at a depth of about 2-7 centimetres. This is where the fruit originates. From a single plant more than 100 flowers can be born from which, in turn, between 20 and 60 peanuts can develop.

The peanut harvest is done in dry season. There are two phases: theeradication of the plant from the ground and thedrying in the sun. If they still remain too humid, during the subsequent industrial processing they are subjected to another drying with hot air. Finally, the process of toasting makes them as we know it.

A soil-friendly plant

Peanuts are considered a “improving crop”. With this expression we mean a plant whose cultivation increases soil fertility from a physical, microbiological and chemical point of view instead of decreasing it. For example, hemp also falls into this particular category. Specifically, the peanut plant is capable of producing thenitrogen fixationthat is, it manages to store good quantities of nitrogen in the soil, making it more nutritious for subsequent crops.

Nutritional values ​​of peanuts

Peanuts are therefore legumes (and not dried fruit) fromhigh quality protein. But they are also very caloric. We are talking about 600 calories per 100 grams of product, due to their high oil content. For this reason, should be consumed in moderation. The fact that they are dried or roasted then reduces the water content within them, increasing the caloric density.

However, there are not only negative characteristics. These legumes are also rich in nutrients, such as Vitamin E, fibre, basic minerals (copper, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, iron and zinc), oleic acid, resveratrol (antioxidant ally of our heart health) and genistein, technically known as a isoflavone (type of hormone) with antioxidant, antiangiogenic, and immunosuppressive activities.

The thousand names of peanuts

Peanuts are also known as peanuts. From the Americas they came to us (from Peru and Brazil) and in the Americas they are very popular. Just think of the spread of peanut butter in the United States. On the Italian territory, however, they are also called in other ways, with differences from region to region: share, titjobs, Japanese, I sang o cocoaetti. Many names, but one certainty: once you start eating them, it’s hard to stop.

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