The Peanut Family
Virginia peanuts are often called “cocktail nuts” and are considered large-kernelled. Their size makes them wonderful for processing, particularly for salting, confections, and in-shell roasting. This largest member of the peanut family is grown primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Texas.
Runner peanuts are the most widely consumed peanut type. They’re full of delicious flavor, great roasting characteristics, and high yields. Runner’s medium size makes them the first choice of producers for use in peanut butters. They are mostly grown in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Oklahoma due to their need for a warm climate and sandy, well-drained soil.
Spanish peanuts are identifiable by their smaller kernels and their reddish-brown skin. They are used mostly in peanut candies, peanut and nut snacks, and peanut butter. They also have a higher oil content than the other types, which makes them the best for extracting oil. Spanish peanuts are grown mostly in Texas and Oklahoma.
Valencia peanuts are a sweet type of peanut that are covered by a bright red skin and usually contain three or more kernels in a longer shell. They are mostly served as roasted and sold in-shell or boiled. While grown less frequently in the U.S., the primary production here is in New Mexico and Texas.
Peanut oil is also becoming a popular option for cooking because of its healthy fats and high cooking temperature (visit Turkey Frying to see how it makes the best deep-fried turkey!)
There are also many non-food uses for peanuts using the shells, skins, and kernels.