Tips on Growing Peanuts
● Keep the peanuts in their shells until ready to plant, to keep them fresh and viable.
● Peanuts are sensitive to frost, so it’s best to plant them in the warmer months. If frost is predicted, take them inside or cover them with frostprotection fabric.
● Avoid fertilisers high in nitrogen. Peanuts produce their own nitrogen and added nitrogen will produce bushy plants with little fruit yield.
● After the plants have matured and started flowering, you can add a fertiliser rich in calcium for good nut formation.
● Place your container in a sunny position and water regularly.
● Peanuts are usually fairly pest-free. However, if you have any infestations of insects like cutworms or aphids, control them with a suitable product for the specific pest – spray according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
● When the plant turns yellow and begins to wilt, the nuts are ready for harvesting. Pull the inner container from the outer one and shake the soil from the roots. A healthy peanut plant will yield at least 30-50 peanuts. Hang up the whole plant in a warm dry spot so that the peanuts can cure on the plant for 1-2 weeks. Then the nuts can be pulled off and cured for another couple of weeks.
● Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months in their shells, refrigerate for up to 6 months, or freeze for a year or more.
Cooking with Peanuts
What comes to mind is a delicious creamy peanut butter, which is very easy to make and incredibly healthy. Start by roasting the peanuts. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peanuts can be roasted either in their shells or already shelled. If you leave them in their shells, rinse the peanuts to get rid of any dirt and pat them dry. Toss them in peanut oil or vegetable oil and a little salt until well coated. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking tray and place in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Let them cool slightly and they will become crunchy. Shell them and eat them while still warm for a delicious snack, or make peanut butter. To make peanut butter, remove the skins by rubbing the peanuts in your hands. A salad spinner will help to spin the skins off, once the skins have loosened. For every 500g of nuts add 1 – 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of honey. Place the nuts, salt and honey in a food processor and blitz for a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blitz again, adding the peanut oil a little at a time until the mixture is as thick you like it. Blitz for a short time for crunchy peanut butter or keep going until it’s smooth. Place in sterilised jars for storage.