The peanut plant probably originated in Peru or Brazil in South America. The Spanish explorers and traders spread them to Asia, Africa and finally to North America. Initially, peanut is mainly used for oil, food and as a cocoa substitute. Recent technological enhancement aids, demand for peanuts grew rapidly, especially for oil, roasted and salted nuts, peanut butter and candy. Peanut is a great source of protein.
Peanut is native from the western Hemisphere and probably originated from peru or brazil in South America. Spenish have explores the versatility of peanut’s and later, traders bring to Asia and Africa. Africans have introduces the peanut to North America. Currently, China, India and USA grows the major amount of peanuts
Peanut is essentially a tropical plant. It requires a long and warm growing season. The most favorable climate conditions are a well distributed rainfall at least 50 cm during growing season, abundance of sunshine and relatively warm temperatures. The temperature for the best growth of plant is from 21-26.5°C. During ripening period it requires about a month of warm and dry weather. Peanut thrives best in well-drained sandy and sandy loam soils, as light soil helps in easy penetration of pegs and their development and also harvesting. Clay or heavy soils are not suitable for this crop, as they interfere in penetration of pegs and make harvesting quite difficult. Groundnut gives good yields in the soil with pH between 6.0-6.5.
Sowing of groundnut will be taken place with the advent of monsoon in the last week of June or in the first week of July. Delay in Sowing causes progressive reduction in the yield. Where irrigation facilities are available, sow groundnut around 20th June or 10-12 days before the onset of monsoon with a pre-sowing irrigation. This helps in best utilization of monsoon by the crop because all the germination will take place before rains start which ultimately result in a higher yield. It will also help in getting the field vacated in time for the sowing of Rabi crops. In southern part of the country where groundnut is sown in Rabi season also, it should be sown in the month of November and December.
It is necessary to dig the pods at the right time for obtaining higher yields of pods and oil. Harvesting should be done when good percentage of nuts is fully developed and fairly intact. The crop takes approximate 90- 110 days to attain full development. Leave the harvested crop in small heaps for two three days for curing. After curing, collect the crop at one place and detach the pods either by hand or using groundnut plucker for separating the pods from the plants.
Major producing states in India are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Maharashtra
Currently, peanut is commercially available in various forms such as roasted and salted nuts, peanut butter and candy. Peanut is also utilized as edible oil.
Mainly, two variant of groundnuts are cultivated in India namely, Virginia (Bold) and Spanish (Java). Mostly, winter crop of peanuts is rain-fed crop and more than 70% crop is of bold variety. Whereas, the summer crop is irrigated and 85% crop is of Java variety. The Bold peanut are typically red skinned with elongated shape whereas, the Java variety peanuts are pink skinned with round spheroid shape. Bold variety of peanut contains a large percentage of oil content approximately 25%. JAVA peanuts contains high amount of protein and high concentrations of antioxidants polyphenol.
Bold peanut is generally cultivated as a winter crop due to huge irrigation requirement. Seeds are typically red skinned with elongated shape. Bold contain the great amount of oil content (more than 25%). Approximately 70% winter crop of peanut are of bold variety. This variety is also famous as Virginia peanut
Java Peanut is also known as Spanish peanut, which is generally harvested as an irrigated crop. More than 85% crops harvested in summer are of Java variety. Java peanut are pink skinned with round spheroid shape and contains high amount of protein and high concentrations of antioxidants polyphenol.
- Peanuts are processed in various forms as Peanut butter/Flavored peanuts/Coated peanuts/ Peanut bars/Chocolate spreads, nut biscuits, cookies, crushed nuts used on cakes, buns, ice-cream and desserts.
- The ground nuts or peanut provides a major source of edible oil and vegetable protein, widely used in solvents and oils industry.
- They can be eaten raw, numerous food preparations in the form of Snacks and Side dishes, peanut butter or cream, manufacturing of make-up materials, textile materials.
- It can be added to cookies and chocolates for interesting flavor and aroma.
- Peanuts are widely used for making different kinds of snacks due to their excellent nutty taste and flavor.
- Groundnuts oils are also used in making of bath soap.
- In some countries groundnuts shells are used as a fuel.
HEALTH BENEFITS PEANUT
- Peanuts are rich in nutrients, provides over 30 essential nutrients & phytonutrients.
- Peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin E, Manganese & phosphorous.
- They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium and contain healthy amount of protein.
- Peanuts when used as medicine are good for treating blood disorders and helps in reducing excessive menstruation flow among women.
- Peanuts contain vitamins, minerals, nutrients and anti-oxidants and thus are rich energy sources
- It lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol in the body
- The amino acids present in them are good for proper growth and development of human body
- Poly-phenolic anti-oxidants are present in the peanuts in high concentrations. P-Coumaric acid has the ability to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by reducing the productions of carcinogenic nitrous-amines
- Fights against Heart Diseases, Nerves Diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Infections
- The anti-oxidant, Resveratrol in peanuts prevents heart strokes by increasing the production of nitric oxide
- Vitamin E in peanuts helps in maintaining the integrity of cells of mucous membrane and the skin.
- If you eat peanut butter every morning with bread slices, you have less chances of gaining weight
- Peanuts can reduce colon cancer especially in women. Eating at least 2 spoons of peanut butter twice a week can reduce the risk of colon cancer in women by up to 58% and in men by up to 27%. This is one of the best benefits of peanuts for women
- If taken before and during early pregnancy, the folic acid lowers the risk of baby being born with serious neural tube defects reduced by up to 70%
- Manganese in peanuts helps in calcium absorption, fats and carbohydrates metabolism and sugar level regulation in blood
- Tryptophan in peanuts increases the release of this chemical and thus helps you fight depression
- Protects against symptoms of aging such as wrinkles