• By: Kat Walcott

Nutty for Peanuts!

It's National Peanut Month and we’re all feeling a little nutty over here at Ottawa Life! Here are some cool facts about this widely- loved legume as well as a couple of recipes to soothe your peanut cravings this month!

Peanut 101

  • Peanuts are believed to have been first cultivated in Argentina, but are now grown all over the world, particularly in the tropics, Asia and southern United States.
  • Peanuts are also known as “goobers” and “groundnuts” in some parts of the world.
  • Approximately 42 million tonnes of shelled peanuts are produced globally every year.
  • Peanuts are classified as both a legume and oil crop.
  • Peanuts are a very nutrient-dense food. They are an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, Vitamin E, minerals such as magnesium and manganese, and a high source of fibre.

Peanuts Two Ways!

Thai Peanut Noodles: Peanuts are a big part of Thai cooking- its rich, savoury flavour lending itself well as a garnish on pad Thai and as the main ingredient in spicy Thai peanut sauce. Here's a Thai-inspired dish you can whip up in less than 30 minutes right at home. For this recipe you’ll need 2 packages of soba noodles (spaghetti will work too), 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 boneless chicken breasts (cubed), 2 cups of shredded cabbage, 2 carrots (peeled and shredded), 2 green onions (sliced), ¼ chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts. For the sauce, you’ll need ¼ cup of peanut butter, ¼ cup of soy sauce, 3 cloves garlic (minced), 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and, if you wish, 1 teaspoon of your favourite hot sauce. Firstly, in a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, honey, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce until well combined. Set aside. Next, cook your noodles according to the package directions and then drain well. Then, heat up olive oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add chicken pieces to the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Add in all veggies, except the cilantro, and cook with the chicken for about a minute–until they are heated through, but not mushy. Add the noodles and sauce to the pan and mix everything together until heated through and well combined. Serve hot and garnish with the cilantro.

Classic Peanut Brittle: If you're craving something sweet, there's nothing quite like a crunchy, buttery piece of peanut brittle. This classic dessert requires just a handful of ingredients and, since it stores well, is great for bake sales or to present in a jar as a homemade gift. For this recipe, you’ll need 3 cups of white sugar, ¾ cups of corn syrup, ¾ cups of water, 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ¼ teaspoon of salt, 2 ½ cups of unsalted, de-shelled peanuts, 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract and ¾ teaspoons of baking soda. You’ll also need a candy thermometer. Firstly, grease a lined baking sheet and set aside. Next, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir the mixture until it reaches a boil and then let cook without mixing until it reaches 234°F on your thermometer. This should take about 10 minutes. Quickly stir in the butter and salt and cook for another 10 minutes until the temperature reaches 300°F. You’ll notice the mixture will become thick and form brittle threads. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the peanuts, vanilla and baking soda. Quickly pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, using a spatula to smooth it out into a thin, even layer. Let it cool and set completely. Once hard, break into pieces and its ready to eat!