Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) develop a delicious flavor when roasted. Peanuts in their shell are usually roasted and unsalted. Shelled peanuts usually contain a lot of salt.
Peanuts are a delicious snack, whether raw, dried, or roasted. They give stews, soups, and curries a delicious, unique flavor. Try to avoid buying salted peanuts if possible as the salt content is usually far too high.
Processed peanuts can also be used in cookie, pastry, smoothie, and pesto recipes. Peanuts are loaded with calories, and it may be tempting to eat a lot of them. It is important to note that the ratio of omega-6 (LA) to omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids is particularly poor in peanuts: see “Nutrients – nutritional information – calories in roasted peanuts.”
Vegan recipe with peanuts and a high nutritional value: Christmas Eve Salad with Red Beets, Arugula, and Jicama.
Vegan recipe with a small amount of peanuts, but high on the delicious factor: Homemade Yolos (Caramel Pralines) with Medjool Dates.
You can find vegan recipes with roasted peanuts at the bottom of the text or in the sidebar: “Recipes that contain the largest amounts of this ingredient.”
Peanuts in their shell (unroasted, unsalted) are available from late autumn and through winter in major supermarkets including Walmart, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, and Safeway (United States); Extra Foods, Metro, and Freshmart (Canada); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl (Great Britain); Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Harris Farm (Australia). Roasted and salted peanuts are available year-round.
When buying roasted, unsalted peanuts, choose organic peanuts still in their shell when possible. Peanuts sold in the bulk section are fresher than those sold prepackaged. If possible, however, opt for high-quality raw peanuts. These are most likely to be found on the Internet.
Peanuts should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place. A dark cellar, cool pantry, or refrigerator can provide the ideal temperature range of 8–10 °C. Peanuts should always be stored in a sealed container so that the oil they contain doesn’t absorb other flavors. To avoid mold and a rancid taste, dryness is the most important criterion for storage. How long can peanuts be stored? The maximum storage time is four weeks. Can peanuts be frozen? In a sealed, airtight container, peanuts can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.
Peanuts are legumes that are high in calories and especially high in fat.1
Far from being a superfood, peanuts are full of fat (50 %). Nonetheless, at first glance, the amount of saturated fatty acids (6.3 g per 100 g) is not that bad as a percentage of the total fat content. The sugar content of 4.7 g is also good in proportion to the total amount of carbohydrates (16 g).3 A serving of 100 g of peanuts covers half of the recommended daily intake of protein, and peanuts have a good combination of the eight classic essential amino acids. Unfortunately, 100 g peanuts contain 70 % of the daily requirement of fatty acids and they have a poor ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. With an energy density of 6.2 calories per gram, peanut butter is comparable to cured bacon, which has the same density. Not even chocolate or low-fat butter has this density, and only oil is denser, at 9 calories per gram.
What cashews and peanuts have in common is that they both have a very poor LA to ALA ratio. Peanuts have 16 g of omega-6 linoleic acid (LA), which promotes inflammation, and only 0.1 g of the healthy omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is a ratio of 160:1, which far exceeds the recommended maximum ratio of 5:1. Cashews contain 7.8 g of LA and 0.06 g of ALA, which is a ratio of 102:1.3 See the nutrient tables right below the picture's text.
Most websites will nonetheless tell you how healthy peanuts and cashews are, either because they write without addressing concerns or because they want to sell peanuts.
Every food has its good nutrients. For example, the most prevalent mineral in peanuts is phosphorus (388 mg/100 g). However, compared with hemp seeds (1'677 mg), wheat bran (1'013 mg), chia seeds (860 mg), dried porcini (642 mg), flaxseed (642 mg), or oats (523 mg), for example, this quantity is rather small.3
Another example is manganese, the second-highest mineral concentration in peanuts (188 mg/100 g). Compared to hemp seeds (700 mg), wheat bran (611 mg), raw cocoa beans (500 mg), celery (440 mg), flaxseed (392 mg), and chia seeds (335 mg), the presence of manganese in peanuts is also rather low. Nonetheless, manganese is advertised as a health benefit of peanuts.2
One positive health aspect of peanuts is their relatively high levels of L-arginine, which regulates a number of hormones. Pumpkin seeds have about 5'300 mg arginine per 100 g, peanuts 3'460 mg, almonds 2'750 mg, pine nuts 2'400 mg, and lentils 2'240 mg.
Peanuts have a very unhealthy ratio of omega-6-linolenic acid (LA) to omega-3-alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They have a ratio of between 57:1 and 160:1, meaning that they barely contain any omega-3 fatty acids, which can put you at risk for inflammation and disease.
However, peanuts are often marketed as being healthy, for example, they are said to contain antioxidants such as the phytonutrient oligomeric proanthocyanidin. According to an American study conducted by Purdue University, peanuts have a positive effect on high LDL cholesterol levels when 56 g of peanuts are consumed per day.6 However, this study only tested 15 people, and they were likely comparing peanuts to foods even worse for cholesterol.
If peanuts are consumed alongside other foods with a high-fat content, triglyceride (blood fat) levels are said to improve. This research was conducted by the Department of Nutritional Science at Pennsylvania State University. This sounds like a contradictory result, given that peanuts are themselves very high in fat. In the study, triglyceride levels were examined after participants drank a peanut shake following a meal. This was compared to participants who drank a shake without peanuts after a meal. The fact that people who drank a peanut shake’s triglyceride levels reduced significantly indicates that the meal consumed in the study had an even worse ratio of fatty acids than peanuts. The leading researcher Xiaoran Liu wrote that despite this finding, peanuts should be eaten in moderation. You can occasionally add peanuts to a dish as a substitute for another high-fat, low-nutrient ingredient. However, you should always bear in mind the calorie content of a given dish.7
We can only warn: Uninformed and misinformed vegans and vegetarians generally have worse diets than people who eat a “normal” diet — a study will surely be published that mercilessly uncovers this reality (see the link above). This would stop vegan hype, which is so important for animal welfare and the environment, and discredit healthy, informed vegans. This has been our fear since 2014! Click on this link to see what happened with raw food diets (The Giessen Raw Food Study).
In 2003, the EEK was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which was established in 1992, to update its position on the health significance of fats and oils based on the latest scientific findings. We have described their recommendations in more detail on the page about olive oil; here are the most important points:
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential and are divided into two main groups (there are others): linoleic acid and its derivatives, known as omega-6 fatty acids (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid and its derivatives, often just referred to as linolenic acid or ALA (omega-3 or n-3). The main sources of pro-inflammatory LA are vegetable oils12, but nuts and seeds are also pro-inflammatory! Some main sources of healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 (ALA) include canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, and leafy vegetables.12
People who are conscious about their health obtain polyunsaturated fatty acids from flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, fresh herbs, and leafy vegetables because they have a particularly good LA:ALA ratio. You will find detailed nutrient tables under practically all of our ingredients, and you can also access these nutrient tables through our recipes. Our recipes also often summarize the LA:ALA ratio. Erb Muesli, for example, has an ideal ratio of 1:1 (LA to ALA).
A direct statement from the EEK (translated): Too high a consumption of omega-6 fatty acids can promote thrombosis and inflammation. It therefore makes sense to reduce the ratio of omega-6:omega 3 to 5:1. The current average ratio is approximately 10:1, and there is evidence that reducing this ratio may lead to benefits such as fewer atherosclerotic diseases and a reduction of inflammation.12 Atherosclerotic disease (also known as arteriosclerosis) is the technical term for cardiovascular diseases, primarily coronary heart disease, but it is also used to describe vascular diseases.
Contrast this information with the program at Zentrum der Gesundheit titled “Peanuts — Superfood for the Vessels” (updated 27.3.2019): “Numerous scientific studies have long shown that peanuts, when consumed in the right quantities, are anything but potential fatteners … Participants who had high cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study showed a lowered total cholesterol level at the end of the study as well as reduced LDL cholesterol levels after having eaten 56 g of peanuts daily for four weeks.” If you read the FASEB study on this (Adding peanuts to a meal benefits vascular health), then it quickly becomes clear how this result was achieved: the peanut industry “supported” the study. There were only 15 people tested in the study, and one can assume that the participants received an alternative that likely contained harmful substances. The center shows an advertisement for such products and advertises further courses to become a holistic health consultant.
Roasted peanuts have a high potential to provoke allergic reactions. There are very different acute symptoms of peanut allergies, with common reactions including hives, watery eyes, and breathing difficulties. More rarely, serious reactions occur, which can even trigger anaphylactic shock.2Raw peanuts, on the other hand, have a lower likelihood of causing allergic reactions because the immune system perceives them differently. The typical industrial roasting process in the West alters the peanuts’ proteins. Significantly fewer people are allergic to peanuts in East Asia. This is likely because the peanuts there are more frequently eaten raw or boiled.4 Peanuts release histamines and should be avoided in the case of histamine intolerances!
When peanuts are stored improperly, the mold Aspergillus flavus may develop, which produces toxic aflatoxins.6 Toxic aflatoxins have a carcinogenic effect and may cause diseases such as kidney bleeding, cancer, and heart failure.5 For this reason, there are strict import controls for peanuts in the US8 and the EU9.
Peanuts are believed to originate in the Andes. Today, peanuts are grown throughout the tropics and subtropics. According to Wikipedia, the main areas of cultivation are West Africa, China, India, North America, and South America, which account for about 82 % of the total world production. The main exporters of peanuts are the US, Argentina, Sudan, Senegal, and Brazil. The main importers of peanuts are the EU, Canada, and Japan.
Peanuts are grown annually and require loose, sandy soil as they cannot tolerate stagnant moisture. Peanut shrubs require space to grow. You should plant the seeds at least 15 cm apart in a row, with 25 cm between the rows. Peanuts grow underground, and harvesting them is a two-step process. First, a machine called a digger pulls up the peanuts from under the ground and flips the plants upside down. The plants are left on the field to dry for two to three days. Farmers then use a machine called a shaker or a picker to separate the peanut pods from the vines. At this point of the harvesting process, the peanut’s water content is about 40 %, which is far too high. They are subsequently dried with heated air until their water content is about 5–10 %.11
Would you like to grow your own peanuts? Growing your own peanuts only works with raw peanuts in the pod. Ideally, you should plant them 3–4 centimeters under the soil in a small pot with cactus soil mix or potting soil. The peanut plant needs a tropical to subtropical climate to grow; they prefer temperatures between 25 and 30 °C. If possible, they should be kept in a greenhouse, sunroom, or a sunny spot by the window. You can then repot the plant once it is strong enough. Peanuts need moist soil but do not tolerate stagnant moisture. Make sure that you use a porous pot and sandy soil. You can tell that the peanuts are ripe when the plant turns yellowish. Pull the entire plant out of the pot (with the root) and remove the peanut pods. Dry the peanuts well before eating and make sure that they don’t contain any mold. Peanut roots and leaves are full of nutrients, especially nitrogen, making them great for your compost.10
The peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is a plant species in the subfamily Faboideae (Papilionoideae) and in the family of legumes (Fabaceae or Leguminosae). This means that the peanut belongs to the same subfamily as peas and bean species; however, unlike other species in the subfamily, peanuts can be eaten raw.
Peanuts have long been a popular plant: in 2007, archaeologists in Peru found a species of wild peanut that was cultivated about 7'840 years ago. In the Aztec language Nahuatl, tlalcacáhuatl (peanut) literally means “cocoa bean of the earth.” This phrase is also the basis for the Spanish and French words for peanut: cacahuete and cacahouète (cacahuète). Archeological findings from Brazil indicate that peanuts were cultivated two thousand years ago.
Processed products made with peanuts include roasted and salted peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, sweets, and peanut flips. Peanuts are also used in the chemical industry, cosmetics, and animal feed.