An easy way to get the best nutrients from peanuts
Peanuts may be different from what you think
Most of people may think that peanuts are a type nut, apart from their name, they have actually nothing to do with hazelnuts, walnuts, coconut or other fatty seed generously given by trees. Peanuts are legumes, like soy, beans or lentils, this is why they have so much proteins. They are from the same plant family as clovers, their leaves are low, small and green, growing on the surface of the soil, and the peanuts are hidden underground!
When harvesting peanuts, we pull the clover like leaves to get the roots out and get a bunch of peanuts shells covered with earth and hanging a the tips of the roots, the fresh peanuts seeds that we eat are inside. If you taste this kind of fresh peanuts, you can tell that they are from the family of beans, they taste like fresh peas or fresh green chickpeas. If you buy raw dry peanuts, buy sprouting them you can get this authentic taste again and even benefit from a healthier food.
Sprouted seeds are easier to cook, to digest and healthier on the whole
When seeds sprout, they become easier to digest and more nutritive because on one hand a part of their anti-nutrient content goes into the water while the seeds are soaked, antinutrients are for example phytic acid, tannins and phenols, knowns to bound mineral absorption such as zinc or iron. On the other hand, the sprouting process activates enzymes and increases the biovalaibility of the nutrients contained in the seeds. On the top of that, sprouted seeds are faster to cook and they tend to provoke less gas. Gas or bloating stomach can also be reduced by adding a carminative condiment to your legume dishes, these are plants from the apiaceae family such as cumin, anise or dill. For example, grouned fenel seeds are delicious in a cooked sprouted bean salad topped with lemon juice and oil. Other plants family and members of the carminative plants team are coriander, mint, oregano, thyme, ginger, rosmary,….
The sprouting process is even more valuable for the legume family, as this family contains substances that make them less edible than other seeds, and for some of them toxic, reason for which legumes are usually not eaten them raw. Sprouting can help the legume seeds to be edible, but I personally prefer not to eat too much of sprouted raw legumes, so I cook them briefly or eat a little of sprouted lentils or sprouted peanuts, following my body signs and instinct so as to respect my limit.
How to sprout peanuts
Peanuts can sprout from fresh refrigerated peanuts (not common to find in western countries), or from dried raw peanuts, preferably still with their redish skin because it looks less processed. The raw peanuts can be found in asian markets. Peanuts in shell that are commonly found in supermarkets are not raw, they are roasted in their shell.
Once you’ve got your peanuts ready, start with a handful of them that you will soak in a glass or a bottle for about 8 hours. After a night, without waiting too long, especially if the weather is hot, you should rinse the peanuts and drain them. Throw the soaking water, as it contains de phytates and other anti nutrients that are good to get rid of.
At this point you are almost done. Bend the glass or the bottle so that the humidity doesn’t leave the pot, and keep this container open to prevent fermentation to happen. Rinse once or twice daily depending on the air temperature, When you see the little sprouts appear, the peanuts are ready to eat. You can keep them in the fridge 1 or 2 days, or dry them. It is important to keep the peanuts without fermentation or mold as peanuts are an important source of aflatoxines, a dangerous substance that appears in all kinds of foods but frequently in peanuts. This toxine is not destroyed by heat. Good preservation of the food can help preventing this substance to come.
Peanuts are known for their high content in saturated fats, by eating them raw, you reduce the apparition of saturated fat in this product, as heating fats tends to transform unsaturated fats to saturate fat. Another advantage of sprouting peanuts is that you can seed them and grow them yourself in your garden. This crop needs time and hot temperatures, but it is still possible to cultivate it even in Switzerland, but in a greenhouse, as my grand father did “to try”. Peanuts are a nice plant that has yellow flowers and can be used as a good ground cover, if you don’t plan to eat their seeds!
Eating sprouted peanuts raw is okay but in some point, I feel it should be in small amount, or if a higher quantity, sprouted peanuts should be cooked: they can be steamed or boiled, such as they do in Thailand, where they are boiled in their shell without sprouting and with some salt, or they can be cooked into a soup with some sweeteners as they also do in Asia, or they can be added to any dish, like mixed vegetables and steamed or cooked in another way. Sprouted peanuts can be also roasted, although lower temperatures are considered healthier, if you start with a healthier type of peanuts, sprouted, the final product may be higher in good nutrients. You may have to dry the sprouted peanuts before frying or roasting them.
Benefits of eating legumes
Legumes are a traditional part of many cultures and they offer a great source of valuable protein and other nutrients. They are usually eaten in association with cereals, so as to complete the amino acids of the bean and make the dish a source of complete protein. Lebanese and other countries in the Middle East love to eat Hommos, which is chick peas based and eaten with wheat bread. Lentils are a key ingredient to the Mjaddara, a delicious combination of rice, onions and lentils, and Foul, the traditional breakfast, features the delicious foul, a very fragrant type of fava bean, eaten with wheat bread. Lentils are also combined to potatoes in the 3addas Hamod soup, a tasty Swiss chard or spinach and lentils soup with lemon and garlic.
Eating one meal or more of beans or legumes is a good way to cover proteins needs, to reduce the amount of sugar or carbs in our diets, which can be a help to loose weight or to prevent diabetes. Their high fibers and nutrients content help to feel full and nourished.
It is also a great way to reduce the amount of meat consumption, which in the same time reduces the amount of hormones and antibiotics we absorb, it’s a way to give a contribution to the planet by reducing our foot print, all this with adding some diversity of taste and pleasure in our daily dishes!
Source: FAO 2016, www.fao.org/3/a-i5388f.pdf