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A true appreciation for peanuts, peanut growers

Brent Murphree DSC_1524.JPG
Freshly dug peanuts in south Mississippi.
Over the years, my appreciation and knowledge of peanut farming has grown a great deal.

I like peanuts. If I have one problem with them, it's that I can't just eat a couple.

If I'm on a road trip I'll munch on them for a while, put them away and then five minutes later, pull them back out and start munching again.

When I was little, it was peanut butter sandwiches on Roman Meal bread with grape jelly. I don't think I've ever turned one down.

When Grandma was being fancy, she'd cut off the crusts and cut them into quarters. She said they were tea sandwiches; I just knew they were good.

We had one friend who only ate peanut butter sandwiches. For years, it was the only thing his mom could get him to eat. He'd come to school every single day with his lunch bag bearing a peanut butter sandwich. While everyone else was eating yeast rolls and Salisbury steak, Dale would sit down in the cafeteria with his PBJ.

PBJs are good, but I need variety, lots of it, and thank goodness I have liked most every way I have eaten peanuts.

When I was a kid, Mom and Dad went to South Carolina and came home with cans of boiled peanuts. Boiling a peanut changes the flavor just a bit, but you still know it's a peanut.

Years later I sat in a farm shop in South Carolina with a bunch of Arizona cotton farmers. We ate boiled peanuts from a five-gallon bucket all afternoon. We ate a lot of peanuts that day.

As a matter of fact, I could probably go for some right now.

Kung Pao anything has always been my favorite Chinese food, as long as there are enough peanuts in the spicey mix. The first time I ate Thai food it was a satay chicken with peanut sauce.

I've had flounder with crushed peanuts and a Mexican molé with peanuts, chocolate and chile.

My favorite candy bars are peanut based – Snickers, Butterfingers and especially Pay Days.

It's nice that peanuts are good for you. Healthline.com says that peanuts are an excellent plant-based source of protein and high in various vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. They can be useful as part of a weight loss diet and may reduce your risk of both heart disease and gallstones.

They are low in carbs and classified as an oilseed because of their oil content.

I've been blessed to be able to interact with the American peanut growers who make it possible for us to taste, eat and enjoy this great legume. I'm in a position to be able to meet some very cutting-edge peanut farmers. I've enjoyed my discussions with all of them.

It's nice to celebrate those growers as part of the Peanut Efficiency Awards. Congratulations Dan Ward, Armond Morris, Dan West, and Tony Dill. You make it look easy from the outside.

TAGS: Peanuts
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