Surprisingly, peanuts are not actually in the nut family. They are classified as legumes along with foods like green peas, soybeans, and lentils. The peanut plant likely originated in South America in Brazil or Peru. Scientists have found 3,500-year-old pottery in the shape of peanuts, as well as decorated with peanuts, in South America.
Peanuts grow below ground as the fruit of the peanut plant. In the early 1800s, Americans started growing peanuts as a commercial crop. On average, Americans eat more than 6 pounds of peanuts per year. Today, 50% of the peanuts eaten in the United States are consumed in the form of peanut butter.
Many people believe the peanut is not as nutritionally valuable as true nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews. But actually, raw peanuts have many of the same health benefits as the more expensive nuts and should not be overlooked as a nutritious food.
Much attention has been paid to walnuts and almonds as “heart-healthy” foods, given their high content of unsaturated fats. But research suggests that peanuts are every bit as good for heart health as more expensive nuts.
Peanuts help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. They can also stop small blood clots from forming and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Foods with a lot of protein can help you feel full with fewer calories. And among nuts, peanuts are second only to almonds when it comes to protein count. Studies have shown that people who include a moderate amount of peanuts in their diet will not gain weight from peanuts. In fact, peanuts could help them lose weight.
Longer Life Span
Eating roasted peanuts might help you live longer too. A large-scale study found that people who regularly ate any kind of nuts (including peanuts) were less likely to die of any cause than were people who rarely ate nuts.
Because the study was observational, it cannot prove that peanuts were exactly what caused the lower death rates, but they are definitely associated with them.
How to Save Seeds
1. Know what to grow
Start With Open-Pollinated Seeds
Open pollinated varieties, aka OPs, are like dog breeds; they will retain their distinct characteristics as long as they are mated with an individual of the same breed. This means, with a little care and planning, the seeds you produce will be true-to-type, keeping their distinct traits generation after generation as long as they do not cross-pollinate with other varieties of the same species.
Annual, Biennial, Perennial
Not all plants flower, set seed, and die in a single growing season. Those that do, like lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers, are called annuals. Biennials, such as carrots and onions, don’t flower until their second growing season, after they have gone through a cold period. Some long lived plants, like apple trees and asparagus, are perennial, surviving and flowering for many years.
Learn About Species
A species is a group of individuals that are able to reproduce together. In the garden, most crops are different species from one another, but not always. There are several species of squash and two distinct species of kale - meaning some varieties of these crops are not able to cross pollinate with each other. On the other hand, Cucumis melo, commonly categorized as a melon, also contains some varieties that are sold as cucumbers like ‘Armenian’ because fruits of the variety are unsweet and sometimes pickled.