10 NUMBERS BEHIND... PEANUTS
Everything you need to know about the popular and widely consumed edible seeds used as snack, but also for preparing both savoury and sweet dishes.
Peanuts, the tasty snack we love to munch, especially with an aperitif, are used for 3 main purposes: roasted or raw for eating as a food, in the form of oil or made into a spread called “peanut butter”.
Despite being considered not much more than a “mere” snack, there are secrets and curious factstucked away inside a bag of peanuts that can only be expressed in numbers.
2 is the perfect number for preparing a delicious peanut sauce. Does the hot weather give you a longing for salads? Any time is the right time for serving vegetables and meats with this sauce. You make it with 2 handfuls of shelled peanuts, 2 spoonfuls of soy sauce, 2 spoonfuls of apple vinegar, 2 spoonfuls of tomato passata, 2 drops of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. If you prefer a slightly sweet version, add one spoonful of honey. First of all, roast the peanuts in a non-stick pan until they become dark in colour and give off their delicious caramel flavour. Then transfer them to a blender together with the other ingredients and blitz them at high speed until you obtain an even and fluid sauce.
3 billion dollars is what the peanut butter industry is worth worldwide.
3.3 million tons of peanuts are grown in the United States, which tops the charts of the world’s most important producers.
7 essential steps are involved in the production of delicious peanut butter. Obviously, it all starts with the peanut harvest. The peanuts are then shelled and roasted at a very high temperature of 426,6°C to start with. Then the seeds are left to cool before the “blanching” phase in which their fine skin is removed. This can be done with water, in which case it is called water blanching or dry (heat blanching). The final phase is that of grinding, which produces the precious peanut butter, ready for packaging.
15 is the percentage of foodstuffs containing peanuts in the USA. The second place of this unusual rating is occupied by China, with 12%, followed by India (9%), Canada (5%), Brazil and Mexico (4%), and then by the United Kingdom, Germany, Vietnam and South Korea with 3%.
30 centimetres is the minimum height of a peanut plant, which may even grow to 80 centimetres. The leaves are from 1 to 6 centimetres long, while the flowers are 2-4 centimetres across. Contrary to the widespread belief, peanuts are not “dried fruit” like walnuts or pistachios, but an authentic legume. In fact, they actually belong to the plant order of the Fabales, better known as Leguminosae.
35 is the percentage of peanut butter made in USA imported by Canada, the number one importer of this product, which outstrips the European Union (19.6%), Mexico (4%), Saudi Arabia (3.9%) and Japan (3.6%).
45% of the peanuts used directly as a food ingredient are eaten as snacks. Secondary uses comprise cake and pastry making (14%), oven-baked products (11%), sweets and desserts (7%).
567 Kcal per 100 grams of peanuts. The composition of this vegetable product comprises 49 grams of fats, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of proteins and a good many vitamins: 92 milligrams of Calcium and as many as 168 milligrams of Magnesium.
1700 is the year the earliest evidence of peanut consumption dates back to, outside of the Tropics that is, in North America to be precise. They were imported by the Spanish conquistadors who also introduced them to Europe at a later date, in the 1800s. However, the industrial development of the peanut business only took place in the early 1900s when it became possible to farm them intensively. Until then, in fact, they were considered to be a poor crop that was difficult to grow.