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Health Benefits of Peanuts

Surprisingly, peanuts are not actually in the nut family. They are classified as legumes along with foods like green peas, soybeans, and lentils. The peanut plant likely originated in South America in Brazil or Peru. Scientists have found 3,500-year-old pottery in the shape of peanuts, as well as decorated with peanuts, in South America.

Peanuts grow below ground as the fruit of the peanut plant. In the early 1800s, Americans started growing peanuts as a commercial crop. On average, Americans eat more than 6 pounds of peanuts per year. Today, 50% of the peanuts eaten in the United States are consumed in the form of peanut butter.

Health Benefits

Many people believe the peanut is not as nutritionally valuable as true nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews. But actually, raw peanuts have many of the same health benefits as the more expensive nuts and should not be overlooked as a nutritious food.

Heart Health

Much attention has been paid to walnuts and almonds as “heart-healthy” foods, given their high content of unsaturated fats. But research suggests that peanuts are every bit as good for heart health as more expensive nuts.

Peanuts help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. They can also stop small blood clots from forming and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Weight Loss

Foods with a lot of protein can help you feel full with fewer calories. And among nuts, peanuts are second only to almonds when it comes to protein count. Studies have shown that people who include a moderate amount of peanuts in their diet will not gain weight from peanuts. In fact, peanuts could help them lose weight.

Longer Life Span

Eating roasted peanuts might help you live longer too. A large-scale study found that people who regularly ate any kind of nuts (including peanuts) were less likely to die of any cause than were people who rarely ate nuts.

Because the study was observational, it cannot prove that peanuts were exactly what caused the lower death rates, but they are definitely associated with them.

How to Save Seeds

1. Know what to grow

Start With Open-Pollinated Seeds

Open pollinated varieties, aka OPs, are like dog breeds; they will retain their distinct characteristics as long as they are mated with an individual of the same breed. This means, with a little care and planning, the seeds you produce will be true-to-type, keeping their distinct traits generation after generation as long as they do not cross-pollinate with other varieties of the same species.

Garden crops can be classified as either dry fruited or wet fruited. Collecting seeds from dry fruited crops, can be as simple as going out to the garden, handpicking a few mature seedpods, and bringing them into the house for further drying and cleaning. Fruits from wet fruited crops must be picked when their seeds are mature. The harvested fruits are either crushed or cut open, and the roasted seeds are extracted from the flesh and pulp before the seeds are dried.

Store Seeds

Raw seeds are happiest when they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. A dark closet in a cooler part of the house or a dry, cool basement are both good spaces to store seeds for a year or two. Once properly dried, seeds can also be sealed in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for several years. The seeds of some crops are naturally longer lived. Tomato seeds and beans can be left for many years in adequate storage conditions, while onion and carrot seeds are notoriously short lived. Don’t forget to label your seeds with the crop type, variety name, and any useful notes about your seed source, when you harvested the seeds, and how many plants you harvested from.

Snack foods

Snack foods are a very broad category with a wide range of processing steps. In general, snack foods have a more robust flavor profile and require a standard or reduced-flavor sage or rosemary antioxidant. If possible, the antioxidant should be added to the dough of the snack food. This could be predispersed in a water or oil phase or added directly to the blender. If adding without predispersion, an antioxidant should be chosen with a less concentrated form of antioxidant and used at a higher dosage rate (i.e., 0.2%). This will allow for even distribution throughout the dough and avoid “hot spots” that could occur when using a more concentrated product. If the snack food does not have a mixing step (i.e., potato chips), the antioxidant could be added to the frying oil or after preparation as a spray-on step. For snack foods, the easiest way to measure oxidation is use of GC to measure hexanal or another marker compound.

Is peanut butter good for you?

Peanut butter is a firm favorite among adults and children alike. Although tasty, many people wonder about the health benefits of peanut butter.

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