Raw Shelled Peanuts (Groundnut Kernels)
Peanut Types and Production
U.S. peanuts fall into four basic types: Runner, Virginia, Spanish and Valencia. Each of these peanuts is distinctive in size and flavor. Other producing countries grow varieties with other names, but are similar to the types described below.
Runners have become the dominant peanut type grown in the U.S. due to the introduction in the early 1970’s of a new variety, the Florunner, which was responsible for a spectacular increase in peanut yields. Runners have rapidly gained wide acceptance because of their attractive kernel size range; a high proportion of runners are used for peanut butter. Runners, grown mainly in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, account for more than 85% of total U.S. production.
Virginias have the largest kernels and account for most of the peanuts roasted and eaten as inshells. When shelled, the larger kernels are sold as salted or flavored peanuts. Virginias are grown mainly in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, South Carolina and West Texas. Virginia-type peanuts account for about 10% of total U.S. production.
Spanish-type peanuts have smaller kernels covered with a reddish-brown skin. They are used predominantly in peanut candy but are also used for salted nuts and peanut butter. Spanish peanuts have higher oil content than the other types of peanuts which is advantageous when crushing for oil. The Ole Spanish variety was released in 2015 after extensive research and is high in oleic acid, a beneficial monounsaturated fatty acid; its high roasted peanut score and increased shelf life make it ideal for candy bars or for snack nuts. Spanish-type peanuts account for 2% of U.S. production.
Valencias usually have three or more small kernels to a pod. They are very sweet peanuts and are usually roasted and sold in the shell; they are excellent for fresh use as boiled peanuts. Valencias are also commonly used to make aa-natural peanut butter. Due to greater demand for other varieties, Valencias account for less than 1% of U.S. production and are grown mainly in New Mexico.
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