Peanuts: More than a southern staple

Let me start by saying although peanuts can be consumed in a multitude of ways, they are most definitely more than a southern staple! According to The Peanut Institute, they are thought to have originated in South America. But let me offer you a bit of information regarding the usefulness of this legume (the peanut is actually a legume and not a nut) from a scientist and former slave who was widely known as the "Peanut man".

Being from Montgomery, AL, peanuts were always nearby in some form or another.  Montgomery is approximately 45 miles from Tuskegee, AL.  Tuskegee Institute is where the "Peanut man", Dr. George Washington Carver, researched the ways in which the peanut could not only be used for human consumption, but to also have a positive impact on human health and an economic impact on the southern farmer.  PBS has a documentary saluting Dr. Carver and his research on the peanut.

The top 5 peanut facts according to Dr. Carver's newsletter "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption" (click the link to read the entire newsletter as printed) 

  1. Like all other members of the pod-bearing family, they enrich the soil.
  2. They are easily and cheaply grown.
  3. For man the nuts possess a wider range of food values than any other legume.
  4. The nutritive value of the hay as a stock food compares favorably with that of the cowpea.
  5. They are easy to plant, easy to grow, and easy to harvest.

As a chef, I can personally recommend boiled peanuts, roasted peanuts, and peanut brittle as southern favorites!  Stop by our booth in the Montgomery Curb Market to give our popular brittle a try!