The peanut, also known as groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is grown in areas of Messinia. Specifically, it is cultivated in Bournia of the Municipality of Kalamata and Bouka of the Municipality of Messini. The cultivation of peanuts does not require specialized care. Sowing takes place in late April and harvesting in the end of September or early October. In the past, peanut crops in Messinia occupied about 2,500 acres of land. However, cheap imported peanuts from other countries and producer prices below cost rendered this cultivation unprofitable for farmers. In recent years, concerns about food safety issues in imported peanuts have renewed the interest in local peanut production. Peanuts are enjoyed roasted and salted.
Peanuts are a good source of protein (24%) and are rich in vegetable fat as half to two thirds of their weight consists of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated good fats. They are also a good source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant and have vitamins A and B, which help maintain a healthy metabolism and nervous system. Most antioxidants of vitamin E are found in the outer soft shell of the peanut and 50% of the antioxidants in peanuts are lost once the shell is peeled off. Peanuts are also considered a good source of non-heme iron and are rich in selenium, which is an antioxidant and has been shown to protect against colon, lung and prostate cancer. It should be noted that allergy to peanuts is the most common food allergy in children as well as in adults, accounting for 90% of all food allergies. Around 20% of children outgrow their allergies at an age of 5 years old.