Peanuts are also known as Ground Nuts — comparatively having longer shelf-life, rich in flavours, Peanuts are sweet in taste. Pygmy nuts, pig nuts, monkey nuts, earthnuts, groundnuts, and goober peas -these are various names of Peanuts in various regions of the world. In Indian cuisine, peanuts play a distinctive role —— the various forms of using peanuts as a base ingredient or as an aligned ingredient in Indian culinary culture -or- straightaway devouring peanuts as nutritious snacks, or consuming it as to curb morning 08:00-11:00 or 16:00-18:00 hours appetite -all these make peanuts a superfood.
In India, Peanuts are used in numerous religious fasting and regular delicacy preparation in form of raw, roasted, or grinding peanuts to powder for making dry or thick based condiments, soups – curries, or vividly using peanut butter and peanut-oil (ground nut oil), for- roasting, shallow or deep frying, or in just tempering foods —— Peanuts are also used in making desserts or making savoury dishes. Though for culinary reasons Peanuts are referred as ‘nuts’, but they belong to the legume family. Peanuts in its root nodules harbour nitrogen fixing bacteria, means its cultivation requires less nitrogen containing fertiliser——well, this actually improves soil fertility and helps in cultivation of successor crops—this way also Peanuts are valuable.
The biyearly cultivation cycle (March and October) of Peanuts ensures its availability throughout the year—this protein – oil-seed crop plays a crucial role of balancing the vegetable oil deficit of India. Amber, BG-1, BG-2, Chandra, Chitra, GAUG-1, GAUG-10, Kadiri-2, Kadiri-3, Kaushal, Kuber, Prakash, PG-1, T-28, T-64 are its various qualities and types——Bold or Runner, Java or Spanish, and Red Natal are the main varieties——and, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa are the major states producing Indian groundnuts. During the year 2019-20 India has exported 6,64,442.93 metric tonnes of groundnuts -worth of 5096.34 Crores Indian Rupees, that is 711.38 Million US Dollars — in the world, making India the second largest producer of groundnuts. Along with edible raw peanuts, India also exports Blanched Peanuts, Roasted Peanuts (Dry – Salted both), and peanut based food products to Indonesia, Vietnam Soc Rep, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Peanuts or groundnuts significance also has its roots back in Indian ancient history- ‘Dharma Yuddh’, the battle of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata divided the whole Aryavarta and hundreds of Kings had to determine and deploy their forces either by the sides of Kaurava’s or Pandava’s front, no one could evade this—but, only the King of Udupi chose to remain neutral – in his reply to Shri Krishna he said: ‘Those who fight the whole day have to have food—I will choose to be the caterer to feed everyone in this Kurukshetra War’. Shri Krishna agreed to his views and endorsed his noble role. The Mahabharata battle lasted for eighteen-days leaving every day lakhs of warriors dead on either front—it was a crucial task for the King of Udupi to arrange meals for exact number of people -neither less nor more — amazingly he managed the exact serve- no shortfall – no waste. And this efficient administration is well narrated in the epic of Mahabharata, here is the brief: Shri Krishna loved to eat boiled peanuts -knowing this, everyday the Udupi King used to serve him a bowl full of boiled peanuts nicely peeled and cleaned — Shri Krishna took these peanuts and ate only as much that he wanted and left the remaining in the bowl; and, once Shri Krishna finished dining the Udupi King counted those leftover peanuts -if Shri Krishna had eaten one peanut it meant to the Udupi King that in the next day’s battle that many soldiers will succumb to their death — and with this count the Udupi King set up the preparation for the next day meal.
Well, eating a fistful of peanuts daily- improves brainpower, sustains energy for the day long working, reduces risk of: diabetes, various kinds of cancer, and heart diseases.