Are peanuts fruits?- Yes, Peanut or Groundnuts are fruits. It is strange but 100% true. Peanut belongs to the bean family- “Fabaceae”. Scientifically it is classified as “Arachis hypogaea” from the species “hypogaea”.
Many of you will say peanut has named a nut then why we are calling it a fruit? Wait, there is a reason. keep reading for the answer.
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Why Are peanuts fruits?
The peanut or groundnut is also known as goober in US and monkey nut in the UK. It is a member of the bean family- “Fabaceae.” This is the third-largest botanical family of flowering plants. It contains almost 18000 species of different flowering plants.
- Peanut being a member of Fabaceae mainly is a flowering plant.
- A beautiful yellow flower with 5 petals develops near the base or nodes of the plants.
- These flowers develop into fruits known as seed pods.
- The seeds developed within these pods are the peanuts we use to eat.
- Now a question arises- if the flower grows above the surface, then how or why does the peanut develops below the soil? This is due to a very rare natural phenomenon called Geocarpy.
What type of fruit is a peanut?- A legume type of fruit. Peanut or Groundnut is a leguminous fruit-bearing plant. The whole seed pod is a hard shell fruit with two or three edible seeds called peanut.
Are peanuts vegetables?
Most probably this is the biggest discussion- Ok Jokes apart. No matter if its a fruit or vegetable or both, You can eat it whenever or wherever you want. No ones gonna snatch your roasted peanut during your favorite baseball match.
The entire discussion of peanut being a fruit or vegetable is only a matter of perception. Yes, there is nothing like a vegetable in the botany. The whole concept of vegetables is derived from the culinary world. The food obtained from plants other than seeds is known as vegetables. So we cannot distinguish this in terms of biology. Instead, we will look at the general definition for both. The culinary idea for fruit & vegetables is so different.
The seed-bearing part of a flowering plant is technically the fruit. Sometimes is soft sometimes not. Generally, the parts of the plant which is sweet and can be consumed raw are called fruits- the culinary way.
On the other hand, all the edible parts of the plant collectively called vegetables. It can be whole fruit, leaves, flowers, stems, or even roots. Anything obtained from plants and consumed as food can be called vegetables.
Therefore, I think peanut can be considered as a vegetable fruit. What do you think?
Is a peanut a nut or a seed?
Technically Peanut is a seed. Don’t feel sad, you can say it a nut like you’re. No offense, Peanut is a seed and there is plenty of proof available to verify this.
- A nut is a hard shell single-seeded fruit. Whereas, a peanut itself is a seed.
- Walnut or Almond is a nut. They contain single seed enclosed within a hard shell. You need to break these before anyone can eat it. Whereas, the shell of a peanut is not very hard. It contains 2-3 seeds which can easily come out on its own.
- The seed inside a nut is completely open, which not true for peanut. The peanut seeds are covered with thin paper-like red inedible covering. It will come out easily on its own.
The quantity, occurrence, and the nature of covering altogether prove that peanut or groundnut is a seed.
The overall comparison suggests that peanut is a seed. No one is expected to believe this, but science is science. I can’t change it. If you are a cook or a foodie like me then, maybe it is a delicious nut.
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Difference between fruit and nut
Ok, there is nothing to differentiate between a fruit and a nut. Technically, a nut is a hard-shelled fruit. obviously with one seed. If you still want to differentiate then I would say-
- The fruit is soft and sweet but a nut is hard.
- Fruit can have many seeds whereas a nut can only have one.
- You can eat the whole fruit but I don’t think a whole nut is good for your gut. Let me know if you have tried it.
Why is peanut or groundnut called legumes?
Peanut or ground is an edible seed best known for its oils. These plants are highly nutritious not only for their seeds but also for their nitrogen fixation nature. Peanut is called legumes especially due to the presence of several nitrogen-fixating bacteria in the root nodes.
Bacterias like azotobacter and Nitrosomonas can convert the freely available nitrogen into nitrates and nitrites useful for plants. Such bacteria are available in abundance in the root nodes of the peanut plant. Peanut along with peas and lentils are called legumes due to the presence of these bacteria.
Most leguminous plants don’t require extra nitrogen fertilizer. In fact, it will increase the soluble nitrogen in the soil. They make the soil healthy and peanut becomes an ideal plant for crop rotation.
Three Reasons for peanut being fruit
- It develops from a fertilized flower. Peanut flower is a papilionaceous flower just like a pea flower. These flowers don’t need any external pollinators like bees or winds. Peanut is a self-pollinating plant. Each flower contains 5 petals with 9 stamens including several anthers (androecium) and stigma -gynoecium. The flower is attached to the base with a long stem structure called hypanthium. The fertilized flower develops the embryo at the tip of a peg- a tube-like structure. Later this peg elongates to reach the soil and digs down. Once reached a certain depth, the embryo starts developing parallel to the soil. Now the tip of peg develops to form the seedpod. This pod will contain peanuts (seeds). On average you can have 2-3 seeds per pod.
- Check out my favorite peanut seeds on Amazon. These are fertile and really grow fast.
- Peanut bears seeds. The seeds are called peanuts, not the whole shell. Actually the shell is the hard covering of the fruit that develops and protects the seed. The technical definition of fruits says-” The part of plants that bears the seed is called fruit”. So this is another confirmation of peanut being a fruit.
- The seeds inside a peanut shell can be used to grow new peanut plants. It means this is the reproductive part of the plant. If you leave the whole pod in the soil. It will germinate within a few weeks. The new plant will come out and the cycle continues. This is the final confirmation. A fruit is the active reproductive part of a plant. It contains seeds that develop into new plants.
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Some may agree and others may not. Write down what you think-Are Peanuts fruits, nuts, or vegetables? The conclusion is that peanut is a legume fruit. It is a seed and you can call it a nut but it is not. The fruit formation of peanut is one of the rare natural phenomena called geocarpy. Yes, the flower forms above the soil but fruit forms below it. Isn’t that interesting.
I’ll be back with more interesting facts. Till then Keep reading keep gardening!