Peanuts to celebrate Black History Month

George Washington Carver was a famous African American botanist and scientist who studied the peanut in the early 1900’s.

A famous African American botanist and scientist, George Washington Carver’s studies led to over one hundred uses for the peanut. This includes a Cooperative Extension bulletin for farmers which contains over one hundred food recipes using peanuts. He would be pleased to know that today, peanuts are still a favorite American snack and recipe ingredient.

Although named “peanut,” the peanut is not a nut, but a part of the legume family growing in pod off-shoots from plants – not trees. This tasty little legume is high in fiber, with about nine grams in a 3.5 ounce serving. Peanuts are also a great source of protein, of about 25 percent. They are a rich source of phytonutrients and other nutrients such as folic acid, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. Adding foods like peanuts to your diet is a heart healthy choice in comparison to many other snack foods. The fat in peanuts is a monounsaturated fat which is better for your health than either saturated or Trans fats.

According to Michigan State University Extension, because peanuts are also high in fat, they are high in calories and should be served in moderation. A serving size of peanuts is one ounce of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Most of us think of peanuts as a snack, but the can also be used in meals. Here are some tips for adding peanuts to your meal plan:

  • Add chopped peanuts to coleslaw or other salads
  • Mix chopped peanuts with muffin batter to add extra protein
  • Stir peanut butter into pancake or waffle batter
  • Use as part of the protein in main dishes
  • Try stir-frying peanuts with chicken and a variety of vegetables
  • Use peanut butter as a dip for assorted raw vegetables
  • Spread peanut butter on cut up fruit such as bananas, or serve as a dip for sliced apples or pears

Caution: Be aware that many children and some adults have peanut allergies. Always check with guests or your children’s school before offering any food made with peanuts or peanut butter.

Celebrate Black History month and honor George Washington Carver by serving peanuts as a snack or part of a meal during the month of February.

For more information about nutrition and food health, contact with your local MSU Extension office.

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