Peanut Flavor Traced to Oil Quality
Although second in peanut exports, the United States stands first in peanut
flavor and quality, says Agricultural Research Service plant physiologist
Timothy H. Sanders, who has laboratory findings to prove it.
Sanders and scientists from other ARS labs analyzed peanuts for 3 crop
years, 10 shipments each year, from Argentina, China, and the United States.
They evaluated many factors relative to flavor and shelf life. Peanuts grown
in the United States consistently had better flavor and longer shelf life.
One of the South's leading cash crops since the 1800's, peanuts are a major
vegetable oil source. Most of the peanuts produced are used domestically, but
enough are exported to make the United States me world's second-largest
exporter, trailing only China.
"Flavor is the basis for marketing, so it's vitally important to peanut
processors and manufacturers worldwide," he says.
Sanders says that no single factor can reliably predict flavor or quality.
However, the research did establish a significant positive relationship between
several oil quality factors, shelf life, and roasted peanut flavor quality for
peanuts from specific origins.
At the ARS Market Quality and Handling Research Unit in Raleigh, North
Carolina, Sanders also found that blanching peanuts significantly increases oil
stability and shelf life. Blanching is a heat treatment performed before
roasting that removes the seed coata peanut's thin, red, slightly bitter
Sanders says that blanching apparently inactivates one of the enzymes
responsible for breaking down oils, directly increasing oil stability.
Collaborating on the research were ARS scientists from the Southern Regional
Research Center in New Orleans, Louisiana; Marketing Research Laboratory in
Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Soil Dynamics Research Laboratory in Auburn,
Alabama. By Doris Stanley, ARS.
Sanders is in the USDA-ARS Market Quality and Handling Research Unit, 3127
Ligon Street, N.C. State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7624; phone (919)
515-6312, fax (919) 856-4598.
"Peanut Flavor Traced to Oil Quality
Factors" was published in the
January 1995 issue
of Agricultural Research magazine.