Monday, April 30, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
If asked to list the staples of Mexican cuisine, most people would name rice, beans, corn, chiles, lime, and cilantro. Well, add peanuts to the list. While used as a thickening agent in many dishes, peanuts also star in salsas and soups. A nutritious snack, throughout Mexico peanuts roasted with chiles and salt are common, but it is in Oaxaca that they are most addictive, typically studded with roasted cloves of garlic and whole chiles. Just try to eat only a few! Cerveza, por favor!
Cacahuates, from the Nahuatl word tlalcacahuatl, are thought to have been discovered in Peru, cultivated by pre-Columbian cultures, and then spread throughout Mesoamerica, and ultimately the world, by the conquistadors. Peanuts are officially a legume, and grow just a few inches under the surface, in light, sandy loam soil. They require five months of warm weather, and an annual rainfall of 500 to 1,000 mm (20 to 39 in) or the equivalent in irrigation. Our part of Mexico has all the requirements for peanut cultivation, and Oaxaca is the third largest peanut producing state in Mexico.