Peanuts, along with beans and peas, belong to the single plant family, Leguminosae. Peanut seeds grow into a green oval-leafed plant about 45 centimetres tall, which develops delicate yellow flowers in the lower portion of the plant. After the flowers pollinate themselves and lose their petals, the flower stalk carrying the fertilized ovary, keeps growing. This causes it to bend and grow downwards into the soil. The peanut matures underground. From planting to harvesting, the growing cycle takes four to five months, depending on the type or variety.

Peanuts are grown for commercial purposes all over the world. The largest producers in Asia are China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. In America, these are the USA and Argentina, and in Africa Nigeria and Senegal.

Arguably being the best-known and most consumed nuts in the world, there are a lot of peanut confections. They are eaten raw, salted, dry roasted of roasted in oil. Peanuts are the main ingredient in most mixed nuts because of their relatively low cost. Peanuts are often used in recipes, especially in Asia cuisines, but also in South America and Africa. Also, they are commonly processed into peanut butter. Furthermore, the nuts a widely used in candy bars and cookies.

Other than consumption, peanuts have a particularly wide range of other appliances, varying from solvents, oils, dyes and paints to medicines, textiles, cosmetics, nitro-glycerine and plastics.

Peanuts are a great source of concentrated protein, rich in energy and contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

Being such a widely consumed nut, heath benefits of peanuts have been researched extensively. Large population studies have shown that when eaten in small amounts daily, peanuts reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. As an excellent source of resveratrol, a polyphenolic antioxidant, peanuts have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease, and viral/fungal infections. Just a hand full of peanuts per day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.


Although peanuts come in many varieties, there are four basic market types: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia. Each of these types is distinctive in size, flavour, and nutritional composition. Within each four basic types of peanuts, there are several varieties, each containing distinct characteristics. Producers use these specifics to select the peanut that is best suited for his market.


Different countries use different indications to qualify the size of peanuts. They all measure the amount of nuts per ounce though.

China, Egypt and Israel (peanuts in shell)

  • Viginia Jumbo 9/11
  • Virginia Fancy 11/13
  • U.S.A. (shelled peanuts with skin. Can all be blanched)
  • 38/40
  • Runner Medium 40/50
  • Runner #1 60/70
  • Runner Splits
  • Virginia 21/25
  • Virginia 24/28
  • Virginia 28/32
  • Virginia medium 38/42
  • Virginia #1 45/55
  • Virginia #2 60/70
  • Spanish Jumbo 60/70
  • Spanish #1 70/80
  • Spanish Splits
  • South Africa (Peanut with light coloured skin)
  • Common Natal 40/50
  • Common Natal 60/70
  • Common Natal 70/80
  • Common Natal 80/100

Argentina (Shelled peanut with skin, qualitatively similar to the American types. Can also be blanched)

Runner Peanut & Splits

  • Runner type 38/42
  • Runner type 40/50
  • Runner type 50/60
  • Runner type 60/70
  • Runner type 70/80
  • Runner type 80/100
  • Red Peanut
  • Red type 60/70
  • Red type 70/80
  • Red type 80/100
  • Red type 100/120


  • Peanuts in shell: Type Valencia
  • Shelled: Runner types


Bold type

  • 35/40
  • 38/42
  • 40/45
  • 45/50
  • 45/55
  • 60/70
  • 70/80
  • 80/90

Java type

  • 40/50
  • 45/55
  • 50/60
  • 60/70
  • 70/80
  • 80/90
  • 90/100
  • 100/200


Peanuts might be used as wholes or splits, or be diced, ground or processed into oil, peanut flour, peanut butter, milk or boiled peanuts.

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Proximates Units
Energy kcal 585
Protein g 23,68
Carbohydrate g 21,551
Fiber g 8

Total fat g 49,66
Saturated fat g 6,893
Monounsaturated fat g 24,64
Polyunsaturated fat g 15,694
Cholesterol mg 0

Calcium mg 54
Iron mg 2,26
Magnesium mg 176
Phosphorus mg 358
Potassium mg 658
Sodium mg 6
Selenium mcg 7,5

Vitamin A IU 0
Vitamin B6 mg 0,256
Vitamin C mg 0
Vitamin E mg 6,93
Vitamin K mcg 0
Carotene, beta mcg 0
Carotene, alpha mcg 0
Cryptoxanthin, beta mcg 0
Lutein + zeanxanthin mcg 0
* Peanuts are dry roasted without salt
"Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
for Standard Reference, Release 26 (2013)"
g = gram; mg = miligram ; mcg = microgram; IU = International Units


Peanuts are mainly grown in China, India, USA, Nigeria, Indonesia, Argentina, Vietnam, Brazil and Senegal.


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