Born and brought up in Nigeria, Funmi’s fond memories of eating peanuts (known as ‘groundnuts’ in Africa) from her childhood were the inspiration that led her to found G-Nuts. Peanuts, which grow in Nigeria, are an important food there, eaten in a variety of ways: as a snack, enjoyed with fruits like bananas, eaten with cassava and used in dishes such as groundnut stew. Many women there derive an important income stream from cooking and selling freshly fried peanuts from stalls in front of their house. “I was a very picky eater,” laughs Funmi, “but these peanuts were an exception that I loved eating. Also my parents were very strict about what street foods we children were allowed to eat, but peanuts were allowed, so I would go and spend my pocket money on the nuts.”
Living now in the UK, Funmi would always ask her mother to bring some peanuts over when she visited. The shop-bought nuts here are so salty and oily, she explains. “Ours are natural, with a subtle, delicious flavour.” Spotting a gap in the market, Funmi decided to set up G-NUTS. Production takes place in Nigeria by G-NUTS’ sister company, allowing for careful control of standards throughout the long, careful process. Using the country’s most popular variety of peanut, the peanuts are cooked in small batches to ensure maximum flavour and quality. “We only employ women for the cooking. I’m trying to give something back to the economy in Nigeria. It’s good to know that there are people working for us in Nigeria who are getting money that they need.” Peanuts in West Africa are the “go-to snack”, explains Funmi. “Our G-Nuts are so natural and delicious that once you’ve tried them you won’t want any other!”
Despite the name – groundnuts or peanuts – the plant Arachis hypogaea that produces them is actually a member of the legume family, so its edible fruit are not botanically nuts. After flowering and pollination, the plant pushes its stalks into the earth, so that the fruit pods develop underground.Thriving in tropical and semitropical climates, the plant is an important food crop, grown in many parts of the globe. It has long been valued both as a useful source of oil (containing up to 50%) and protein (containing around 30%). In West Africa, the groundnut (peanut) is a much-loved food, used to make protein-rich sauces for chicken, in stews and soups, as well as enjoyed simply as a snack. Nigeria is the largest producer of peanuts in Africa, with the plant growing well there, cultivated predominantly in the northern part of the country.
In North America, peanuts became a popular food crop during the 19th century, eaten roasted in their shells at fairs and circuses. The invention of peanut butter in the 1890s saw its popularity rise in the USA, with peanut butter sandwiches catching on. Initially regarded as a vegetarian and health food, the spread quickly became mainstream. In American cuisine, peanut butter features in numerous creations from confectionary to cookies.
With its distinctive flavour and texture, the peanut remains a much-loved ‘nut’ around the globe. G-NUTS – with its quality peanuts, carefully cooked with no oil and just a little salt – allows consumers to enjoy prime peanuts at their delicious, irresistible best.
Fun facts about Peanuts
Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA – Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
Peanut shells are used in different ways from cat litter to logs for fireplace to fuel for power plants!