Monday, October 8, 2018

Growing Peanuts (Groundnuts)

We eat a lot of peanuts, roasted, boiled, blended into paste for curries, sprinkled on stir fries and salads for crunch and much more. My favorite way to eat peanuts by far is the boiled kind. Occasionally we get fresh peanuts at the local Indian grocery store but if you miss the short window when they are available you are out of luck. While the roasted peanuts are pretty affordable the fresh kind is pretty pricey.

Young Plants

So this summer I decided to grow them myself. Not much around 15-20 plants just to see how they grow and if the soil conditions we have around here are suitable for their growth. What do you know? They did pretty well.

Yellow Flowers

Boiled peanuts are not popular in the North East but they are popular in the South. Once we leave the DC suburbs that we live and start driving south, boiled peanut stands dot the sides of the roads during the summer. But taking a trip to the south just for boiled peanuts did not work out as often as we wished. So the next best thing grow them yourself.

Mature plants

While plenty of adults know that peanut is a leguminous plant, most of them have never seen a peanut plant with the cluster of peanuts on the roots and hidden in the ground. For the amount of peanuts we eat pretty much all of us should be familiar with where the peanuts comes from don't you think?

Freshly pulled from the soil

Growing them is not a specialized skill but you need loose soil so you are able to harvest the peanuts easily. Shell the seed peanuts and the seeds that are inside, the ones that we eat are the seeds that go in the ground. Plant them about 1-2 inch deep, cover with soil and water regularly.

Harvested peanuts

In a week or so they sprout. In good warm summer weather they thrive and though this summer has been extremely wet and extremely hot so they did well. I am not sure if our yield was good or not since we have never grown peanuts before.

Red Peanuts!

The peanuts I grew were called "Tennessee Red Valencia Peanut" as the name suggests, fully mature peanuts look red and are 3 or sometimes 4 to a pod. They are excellent with a sweet mild taste. They take about 110 days to mature. They produce small yellow flowers around 40-50 days which self pollinate and fall off just when the peanuts are beginning to form.

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