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Cooking For Health - Peanuts

( Originally Published 1927 )

Peanuts are a valuable food, and they are growing in popularity. They cost far less as a source of protein and fats than do meats, Peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes and somewhat difficult to digest.

A medium roast is good. A high roast scorches the oil, protein and starch somewhat, making the peanuts and peanut products deep brown.

Roasting: Take peanuts, shelled or unshelled. Place the unshelled peanuts in a hot oven, and the shelled ones in a moderate oven. The shelled peanuts must be stirred or shaken frequently. Roast to suit taste. Heavy salting is not desirable.

Roasted peanuts, whole or ground, may be used to take the place of nuts, eggs or meat.

Two ounces of peanut kernels contain about as much nourishment as fourteen ounces of lean meat; hence two ounces of peanuts make a very generous portion for the main part of a meal.

Here are six meals showing how to combine peanuts with other foods:

1. Peanuts and one or two kinds of fruit.

2. Peanuts, cooked cabbage, celery, baked apple.

3. Peanuts, parsnips, string beans, a salad of either fruits or vegetables.

4. A fruit salad made of two, three or four fresh, ripe raw fruits, sprinkled with a generous amount of peanuts.

5. Toast, peanut butter, asparagus.

6. Baked potato, peanut butter, one or two cooked succulent vegetables, vegetable salad.

It is best not to eat peanuts in the same meal with milk, nuts, cheese or meat.

Peanut butter is growing in popularity, forming an important part of our food supply. For the benefit of those who care to make their own butter, we shall give several recipes. The grinding may be done with a meat mill, set at high tension to grind fine, or one may purchase a so-called nut mill in the market.

Salting is not necessary, but those who prefer salted peanut butter may strew salt in moderation over the kernels before grinding.

The peanuts are to be blanched (brown skins removed) before grinding. The blanching is easily done by rubbing the kernels in a coarse bag. If the rubbing is vigorous this also re-moves the germ, which is the tiny body lying at one end between the two halves of the kernels. If the butter is to be kept a long time, remove the germs. If it is to be consumed within a few days, it makes no difference. Pea-nut butter containing germs spoils rather quickly.

Now we have the freshly roasted peanut kernels, blanched, and perhaps the germs removed. Here are several methods of making them into peanut butter:

1. Take a peanut which contains only a little oil (Virginia), grind, and mix with the ground pulp enough olive oil or peanut oil to make of desired consistency.

2. Take a peanut rich in oil (Spanish), grind and press out the oil until it is of desired consistency.

3. Take peanuts rich in oil and peanuts poor in oil and grind together. A blend of Virginia and Spanish peanuts make a good butter.

4. Buy a good brand of peanut butter on the market. The best peanut butter contains nothing but peanuts, either slightly salted or unsalted.

Also, the best peanut butter is made up of fine granules. It is not pasty.

Peanut butter may be used in place of dairy butter. One ounce is a large serving. One-half ounce (a level tablespoonful) is probably all you need. Peanut butter contains only about one-half as much fat as dairy butter, but the peanut butter also furnishes protein and starch, which the dairy butter does not.

Masticate all peanut products extra well.

Peanut oil is a rich food, and may be used by those who relish it instead of olive oil or butter or other fats.

Greasy cooking is always bad, no matter whether the grease is of animal or vegetable origin. Vegetarians, please take note of this truth:

Foods fried in olive oil, peanut oil or cotton-seed oil are as ruinous to digestion as foods fried in butter, lard or other animal fat.

It is the frying that is objectionable, not the source of the fat.

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