Tuesday, March 9, 2010
bountiful peanuts - glorious groundnuts
Botanical Name of Peanut
Arachis hypogaea is the botanical name of the humble peanut or groundnut.
Peanuts are planted in-situ. Plant the groundnuts in the heat of the summer. Look for good seed that is unblemished. Water well when planting and wait till the peanuts appear, then water well again. Do not over water as it can make the seeds mould. It should about 10 days or so for the peanuts to appear.
Use good compost for your peanut crop to be really successful. They thrive on a diet of rich compost. You can also mix a bit of liquid manure into the water when they germinate to give them a boost.
Make sure that you ridge the plants as they grow. This will allow for maximum production. Peanuts are a legume so are a great soil improver.
Allow them to lie in the sun for two weeks after harvesting. This process is called curing. After the two weeks of curing you can remove the peanuts from their shells and store them in containers in a cool dry place. Groundnuts can also be stored in the shells. Peanuts are a legume and can be used as a green manure crop.
The shells and the plant residues make excellent mulch and compost.
Not an inch of your peanut crop will go to waste.
Peanut Companions and Antagonists
Maize, Melon, Sunflower and Walnut all do well around peanuts.
Peanut nutritional value
Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin E are all found in peanuts. They are rich in protein and natural sugar. Peanuts reduce the risk of heart disease and keep cancer at bay. They are a powerful antioxidant.
Cooking with Peanut
Peanuts can be ground (hence the name groundnut) into a butter, which is rich and nutritious. Peanuts can be eaten raw or roasted with a little salt to flavor them. Chilli can be added to give an extra zing of flavor when roasting.
Eat peanuts as a snack in between meals. When mixed with sunflower seeds and raisins, they make an excellent “weaning from smoking” snack.
Cooking with peanut butter is delicious, add a tablespoon or two to stews. Celery sticks with peanut butter is a yummy snack – this sounds odd, but is so addictive and incredibly refreshing. Actually just about anything with peanut butter is delicious.