Peanuts are high in calories, but also contain many important minerals. They can be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted. They are the main ingredient in peanut butter and are a popular ingredient in Asian stir-fry recipes.
From Wikipedia: “Peanuts are similar in taste and nutritional profile to tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds, and are often served in similar ways in Western cuisines. The botanical definition of a "nut" is a fruit whose ovary wall becomes very hard at maturity. Using this criterion, the peanut is not a true nut, but rather a legume. However, for culinary purposes and in common English language usage, peanuts are usually referred to as nuts.”
“Peanut oil is often used in cooking, because it has a mild flavor and a relatively high smoke point. Due to its high monounsaturated content, it is considered healthier than saturated oils, and is resistant to rancidity. The several types of peanut oil include: aromatic roasted peanut oil, refined peanut oil, extra virgin or cold-pressed peanut oil, and peanut extract. In the United States, refined peanut oil is exempt from allergen labeling laws.”
“Roasted peanuts as snack food. Dry peanuts can be roasted in the shell or shelled in a home oven if spread out one layer deep in a pan and baked at a temperature of 350 °F or 177 °C for 15 to 20 min (shelled) and 20 to 25 min (in shell).”
“In Canada and the US, peanuts are used in candies, cakes, cookies, and other sweets. They are also enjoyed roasted and salted. Peanut butter is one of the most popular peanut-based foods in the US, and recipes for peanut soup are present in the United States south, Virginia in particular. In some southern portions of the US, peanuts are boiled for several hours until soft and moist. Peanuts are also deep-fried, shell and all.”
“Peanuts are rich in essential nutrients. ... Some studies show that regular consumption of peanuts is associated with a lower risk of mortality specifically from certain diseases. However, the study designs do not allow cause and effect to be inferred. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts (such as peanuts) as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
“Peanuts contain polyphenols, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, phytosterols and dietary fiber in amounts similar to several tree nuts. Peanut skins contain resveratrol which is under preliminary research for its potential effects in humans.”
“Peanuts are used to help fight malnutrition. Plumpy Nut, MANA Nutrition, and Medika Mamba are high-protein, high-energy, and high-nutrient peanut-based pastes developed to be used as a therapeutic food to aid in famine relief. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, Project Peanut Butter, and Doctors Without Borders have used these products to help save malnourished children in developing countries.
Peanuts can be used like other legumes and grains to make a lactose-free, milk-like beverage, peanut milk, which is promoted in Africa as a way to reduce malnutrition among children.”
“Some people (0.6% of the United States population) report that they experience mild to severe allergic reactions to peanut exposure; symptoms can range from watery eyes to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if untreated. For these individuals, eating a small amount of peanut can cause a reaction. Because of their widespread use in prepared and packaged foods, the avoidance of peanuts is difficult. Some foods processed in facilities which also handle peanuts may carry such warnings on their labels.”
Contamination with aflatoxin:
“If peanut plants are subjected to severe drought during pod formation, or if pods are not properly stored, they may become contaminated with the mold Aspergillus flavus which may produce carcinogenic substances called aflatoxins. Lower-quality peanuts, particularly where mold is evident, are more likely to be contaminated. The United States Department of Agriculture tests every truckload of raw peanuts for aflatoxin; any containing aflatoxin levels of more than 15 parts per billion are destroyed. The peanut industry has manufacturing steps in place to ensure all peanuts are inspected for aflatoxin.”