Benefits Of: PEANUT

Fabaceae (Bean family)

The highly nutritious peanut was often used as survival food by Arctic expeditions made into or used as an ingredient in a vast variety of products, including candy, granola bars, cookies, and peanut butter. In Peru, peanuts are ground and made into a delicious, thick sauce with chilies, vegetables, and spices, served with rice and chicken (aji de gallina) or other meats and seafood. Peanut oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fat, is used as cooking oil. The highly nutritious seeds were often used as survival food by Arctic expeditions. In West Africa, ground peanuts are used in meat stews and soups.

Comments. Peanuts are a very good source of fat and protein, containing 38-47% oil, 24-35% protein, vitamins B and E, niacin, and folate as well as a high content of minerals like potassium, manganese, and phosphorous.

The largest exporters of peanuts are the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. China and India are the largest producers of peanuts, but the harvest is largely consumed in domestic markets.

Description. Breadfruit is an evergreen tree, 2030 m (66-100 ft) tall. Large, deeply lobed, alternate leaves ovate, 30-80 cm (12-31 in) long by 20-50 cm (8-20 in) wide, with a glossy, dark green surface and yellowish veins. Flowers monoecious; male spikes to 25 cm (10 in) long, female flowers in clusters with up to 2,000 single flowers. Fruits round, 20-30 cm (812 in) in diameter, with a warty light green surface and a cream-colored, starchy flesh. The pulp of the ripe fruit turns soft and yellowish in color. All parts of the plant contain white, sticky latex.

Origin and Distribution. The breadfruit is probably native to New Guinea and the Malay Archipelago. From there it spread with the colonization of the South Pacific islands by indigenous tribes. Today the tree is grown as a fruit or shade tree in many tropical countries having a warm, humid climate.

The breadfruit came to fame because of its role in the mutiny on the HMS Bounty in 1789. Under the command of Captain William Bligh, this ship was to sail with 1,000 potted breadfruit saplings from Tahiti to Jamaica, where the fruits were intended to feed the growing slave population. Within a month of the voyage, the crew rebelled because of a lack of fresh drinking water, and they expelled Captain Bligh and his supporters from the ship. Bligh survived the mutiny. In 1791, in a second attempt he successfully managed to transport breadfruit saplings to Jamaica. The slaves rejected the breadfruit, though, preferring plantains as food instead.

Food uses. Unripe, firm breadfruits taste similar to potatoes and can be used as such. They are commonly prepared as a cooked vegetable in numerous dishes and form an essential part of Asian curries. Fruits are also roasted, baked, stuffed, or mashed. Ripe, sweet-tasting breadfruits are used in desserts. In Hawaii, breadfruit poi is prepared by mashing breadfruit and baking it in an underground oven. Fresh fruit is cut in slices and dried in the sun to preserve it. A common way of preserving ripe breadfruits is to bury them in the ground, where they ferment. The product

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