When the word “Peanuts” is mentioned, comic book aficionados get a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts as they immediately think of the iconic American comic illustrated by Charles M. Schulz.

It is arguably one of the longest stories ever told by one human being, but we will not be talking about it today.

Instead, we are focusing on Peanuts, the nuts that are actually legumes native to South America.

Grown in soil rather than on a tree, peanuts are also known as ground nuts and are from the same family as soy, lentils and beans. In the United States, they are popular as a peanut butter or even in roasted form; they are rarely ever consumed raw, if at all.

Peanuts’ versatility is their selling point as they are used as various ingredients in multiple dishes.  They can be ground and pressed to be used as a flour, they can be pressed into oil for cooking, and they can be used for many more purposes.

These are very popular in some of our favorite foods, such as cakes, snacks, desserts, sauces and confectionery items.

History of Peanuts

Peanuts’ primary center of origin is possibly northwest Argentina and southwest Bolivia and from there cultivation spread to neighboring Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

From there forward, European traders spread the crop across the world with peanuts now being cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions.

China is the biggest producer of peanuts, topping the table at 17.3 million tons for 2018 (FAOSTAT).  

In the English-speaking world the United States is a major player in the market, contributing 2.5 million tons to the global market. In the US, the peanut started off as a garden crop during the colonial period but soon became an integral part of human consumption from the 1930s onwards.

In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture campaigned for increased peanut production and subsequent human consumption in the early 20th century.

When are peanuts grown and how are peanuts harvested/processed prior to consumption?

US peanut farmers usually plant them from late April until early June. Harvest typically happens between 140-150 days from planting, depending on the growing region and weather patterns.

The peanuts are harvested and delivered to buying points, where they are dried and graded prior to being stored in their inshell form.

Throughout the year these peanuts are extracted from the storage warehouses and delivered to shelling plants where they are cleaned and shelled.

From there, they are typically sent to different manufacturers and processors.

Olam processes and manufactures various bulk peanut ingredients that can be purchased here.

Peanuts at Olam

Olam is a proud supplier of high-quality peanuts. We are present in both the shelling and custom processing segment of the USA peanut industry – one of the world’s major peanut producing and exporting origins. Our operations are supported by a network of marketing offices in Rotterdam, Singapore, and Qingdao.

Our peanuts are home grown as Olam sources them from US farmers. Olam Peanut Shelling is focused on developing and maintaining positive working relationships with growers across the Southeast Growing Region. We have an expansive buying network that helps us to market our high-quality seed peanuts to growers and to procure the farmerstock from growers required for the business. We actively participate in all industry associations that support the research and promotion to benefit all segments of the industry as well as the consuming public.

All our processing locations are FDA-registered, FSMA compliant, and BRC-certified.

Olam Peanut Shelling has 3 shelling plants in the USA which are all strategically located in the Southeast Growing Region, where the majority of USA peanuts are grown.

Olam Edible Nuts is a custom peanut processor. We specialize in toll processing, which includes pre-cleaning, remilling, and blanching. We are also experts in producing peanut ingredients, such as Dry Roasted Peanuts, Dry Roasted Peanut Granules, and Peanut Paste/Butter/Variegate. We have 4 processing plants in the USA, which are strategically located across the Southeast Growing Region, the Virginia-Carolina Growing Region, and the Southwest Growing Region.

More About Peanuts

Peanuts have five distinct parts to them. They are:

  • Shell: The outer covering that is in contact with the soil
  • Cotyledons (two): The edible part/halves
  • Seed coat: A red paper-like covering of the edible part
  • Radicle: An embryonic root at the bottom of the cotyledon which can be snapped off
  • Plumule: An embryonic shoot emerging from the top of the radicle

Food uses: Peanuts have a multitude of uses and can vary according to geographical location. In North America, peanuts are popular ingredient in sweets and dessert food items such as cakes, cookies, candies and more.

Dry roasted peanuts are used for snacking and are served either salted and seasoned or plain. Peanut butter is a very popular food and is integral in American dietary practices.     

In the Indian subcontinent peanuts are a very popular snack and are generally boiled with salt or roasted with the addition of chilli powder. In southern India groundnut chutney is a popular accompaniment with ‘dosa’ (Indian pancake) and ‘idli’ (savory rice cake).

Industrial uses: Peanut oil is used in the making of paints, varnish, leather dressings, insecticides, soap/cosmetics, and more.

In fact, peanut shells are also used in the manufacture of plastic, abrasives, wallboard, fuel etc.

Peanuts have great nutritional profile and have a whole host of health benefits.

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