RED SKIN JAVA PEANUTS
With the advent of winter, it’s time to enjoy some delicious and crunchy peanuts. Known by several names like groundnut, earthnut, monkey nut, pygmy nut, pignut or goober peas, peanut is a member of the legume family along with beans and peas. Thus, unlike its name, peanut is not really a nut but a legume and like most legumes, an excellent plant based source of protein. However, it is often classified as a nut because it possesses all the qualities of true nuts, like almonds. These nuts are enclosed in a hard wrinkled outer shell or pod which contains two or sometimes, three kernels. The seeds are egg shaped and their size depends upon the cultivar type. The shell has to be broken to eat the seed inside. Today shelled peanuts are also available in packed form. These seeds have a thin brown skin and can be split into two parts like other legumes.
Being rich in a variety of nutrients like Vitamin E, folate, niacin, manganese and protein, peanuts are considered a cheaper substitute for other nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine-nuts and walnuts. They are available in salted, dry roasted, boiled and raw forms. Being extremely versatile, they are often used as an ingredient in peanut butter, candy bars, chocolates or even sold in the form of ‘chanas’ and ‘chikkis’ by roadside vendors. The best part is that they can be safely consumed by people who are allergic to nuts since peanuts are not nuts but legumes.