Peanuts. Who doesn’t love them? They’re nature’s perfect snack, packed with carbs, protein, and plenty of heart-healthy fats. And the best part is, you can make them sweet and savory! But did you know that not all peanuts are created equal? Besides the standard roasted salted peanuts you enjoy with your beer, there are other varieties, like green peanuts.
These delicate flavor bombs are a rare find in Asian and Indian markets. However, despite not being widely available, green peanuts have plenty of health benefits that should make you want to add them to your diet.
An Introduction to Green Peanuts
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The term green peanuts refer to freshly ripened peanuts ready for harvesting. Though you probably think peanuts are pale cream, any peanut grower will tell you this isn’t the case. Peanuts actually have a light, buttery green-colored shell when they’re freshly picked. They acquire the cream or caramel color after they’ve been boiled, dried, or roasted.
Therefore, you can say green peanuts are raw, untreated peanuts. What separates them from their other cousins is their moisture. When they’re picked, they have around 35-50% water content.
While this contributes to their unique flavor, it also makes the nuts easily perishable. Even with strict refrigeration, the nuts can last barely a week before going moldy. Hence why they’re not readily available.
The Difference Between Raw Peanuts and Green Peanuts
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But wait, if green peanuts are actually raw, untreated peanuts, then what are raw peanuts supposed to be? The difference isn’t just in the semantics.
Though peanuts manufacturers don’t boil or roast them, these peanuts have still been treated in some way to preserve them. This typically involves dehydrating them. Raw peanuts have had their moisture content reduced from 35-50% to just 11%.
Less water means these peanuts have an earthier, more neutral taste. It also means they have a much longer shelf life and are therefore easier and more convenient to transport.
However, you should still think of them as produce, and store them accordingly because they can spoil. To make them last it’s best if you keep them in a dry, cool place that’s around 40 F to make them last longer.
Benefits of Green Peanuts
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Though they’re very high in calories, any dietician will tell you that peanuts are a healthy snack. This is doubly true for green peanuts. They actually offer three times the amount of vitamins and minerals than the average roasted peanut! Roasting peanuts with high temperatures tends to kill off some of the healthy compounds in the nuts.
However, since green peanuts aren’t treated, all their compounds remain intact.A few of the health benefits you’ll get from green peanuts include:
• Vitamins like niacin and vitamin E: both these compounds are crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Some studies even show that niacin in peanuts can effectively protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
• Plenty of minerals, like magnesium, copper, and phosphorus: Magnesium is essential for maintaining healthy nerve and muscle function, while copper helps your body produce red blood cells. Phosphorus on the other hand is what helps your body convert food into energy.
• Contain heart-healthy Omega 3 fats: While you might think you need to cut down on the fat if you have blood pressure issues, it’s actually the kind of fat you consume that’s the problem.
Trans fats found in deep-fried foods are the main culprit behind heart disease and high blood pressure. The Omega 3 fats found in peanuts are the thing that combats these issues, by binding with the trans fat and keeping it in check.
• Help with weight loss due to greater feelings of fullness: Not only are peanuts fat bombs, but they also have protein! On the macronutrient scale of satiety, protein is king, and when you eat more of it, you’ll feel less hungry less often. This could lead to weight loss in the long run.
Featured image source: Flickr.com