Peanuts in Paraguay Pt. 2 – Maní en el Paraguay Pt. 2

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Maní Garrapiñado are essentially candy-coated peanuts. Peanuts are boiled in sugar water until the water evaporates leaving a sticky sweet coating that hardens once cooled. The protein from the peanuts plus the rush from the sugary coating makes maní garrapiñado a deliciously crunchy snack (and interesting addition to homemade trail-mix).

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Maní Garrapiñado es maní con una cobertura de caramelo. El maní se hierve junto con agua azucarada hasta que el agua se evapore dejando el almibar pegajoso que se endurece al enfriar. La proteina del maní más la energía repentina que brinda el caramelo hace que el maní garrapiñado sea un bocadito delicioso y crocante (y una adición interesante para el “trail mix”.. disculpen, no tengo idea como traducirlo).

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Maní garrapiñado

Garrapiñada from Maní 21 - Garrapiñada de Maní 21

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Perhaps for Americans the most familiar peanut product to be found in Paraguay is peanut butter. Here it is called “manteca de maní” (literally “butter from peanuts”). Although this is not necessarily a traditional paraguayan use for peanuts it is found throughout the country thanks to the mennonite colonies. This is not your usual Jiffy or Peter Pan though. In fact, one of my Paraguayan friends bought an jar of Jiffy out of curiosity and found it completely unpalatable. The mennonite produced peanut butter is it is more akin to Teddy´s brand organic peanut butter made with just ground peanuts and salt. Some cooperatives also have variations such as peanut butter with chocolate or, a personal favorite, peanut butter with sesame seeds. It is surprisingly good. This all natural peanut butter can be used to make the best peanut butter cookies ever. If you are asked to bring desserts for a tea or party consider making peanut butter cookies. I have yet to meet a Paraguayan who doesn´t enjoy this novel use of peanuts.

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Quizás el producto de maní que les será más familiar a los americanos en Paraguay es la manteca de maní. Aunque la manteca de maní no es necesariamente una forma típicamente paraguaya de usar el maní es producida y vendida en todo el país gracias a las colonias menonitas. Pero no es manteca de maní al estilo de marcas conocidas de EEUU como “Jiffy” o “Peter Pan.” Es más, tengo un amigo paraguayo quien se compró una jara de Jiffy por curiosidad y lo declaró incomible. La manteca de maní de los menonitas se asemeja más a la marca orgánica “Teddy” compuesta sólo de maní y sal. Algunas cooperativas tienen otros sabores como maní con chocolate, o, mi favorito, maní con sésamo. Es sorprendentemente rico. Esta manteca de maní puramente natural puede ser utilisada para hacer las mejores galletitas de manteca de maní del mundo (¡sin exagerar!). Si se te pide traer un postre para un té o una reunión considera hornear galletitas de manteca de maní. Hasta el momento no he conocido ningún paraguayo que no le guste este novedoso uso del maní.

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La Casa del Maní - Paraguay

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Interested in sampling some peanut products? Peanut butter is available in most large supermarkets, and there is a peanut stand in Agroshopping. Keep Gs. 1,000 handy while riding the bus since many vendors come on selling home made dulce de maní. And if you are driving down Route 2 make sure to stop at the Casa del Maní.

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¿Te interesa probar algunos productos de maní? La manteca de maní está a la venta en la mayoría de los supermercados grandes y además hay un puesto de maní en Agroshopping. Mantén un Gs. 1,000 a la mano mientras andas en colectivo ya que muchos vendedores suben a vender dulce de maní casero. Y si estás manejando por Ruta 2 no te olvides de hacer una parada en la Casa del Maní.

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Update:

I thought I’d share an interesting email I received from a reader regarding why Paraguayan peanut butter tastes so different from American peanut butter:

“Natalia,

I enjoyed your posting about peanuts and I have used both Jiff and the natural variety. You might appreciate this background about Jiff.

Back in the 1950s the Proctor and Gamble Company introduced Jiff. They sold the brand to J.M. Smucker Co. a few years ago.

P&G knew that peanut oil is highly prized for use in woks and french fry machines because it holds up very well at high temperatures and does not smoke and burn like other oils. So, they extracted the oil from the peanuts and replaced it with cottonseed and/or soybean oil. This increased profit for P&G since peanut oil sells at a much higher price than the other oils. P&G was already buying huge quantities of the other oils for use in Crisco and liquid shortenings, so they paid a bargain price for them.

P&G also added sugar as well as salt to increase appeal among kids, so they would ask their Moms for Jiff instead of Peter Pan or another brand.
And, they used their marketing clout to promote Jiff intensively.

The FTC mandated that P&G could not sell their product as peanut butter so it was introduced as Jiff peanut flavored spread. Eventually, other producers caught on and added sugar and substitute oils to their products. The FTC was badgered until they dropped the label requirement. Jiff and the others are now sold as peanut butter.

The natural varieties have a true peanut taste. Sometimes Jiff tastes to me like peanut flavored Crisco. Maybe that is why your friend found it unpalatable.

Graham”

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