Peanut /Arachis Hypogaea/
The peanut is a very commonly used food plant that is widely cultivated throughout the tropics and sub-tropics.
It is a small bushy annual plant with erect or prostrate stems up to 70cm long.
Bunching varieties generally have bigger pods and are easier to harvest. Running varieties are not as productive are a little harder to harvest but have a better-flavoured nut.
The seeds have a delicious nutty flavor and can be eaten on their own either raw, boiled or roasted.
Roast in the shell at 180°C for 20-25 minutes.
Edible oil is obtained from the seed.
The pressings from the oil extraction are rich in protein.
It can be made into a seed cake and fried and is very tasty and nutritious.
Young leaves tips and pods are eaten as a cooked green vegetable.
Warm temperate to the tropics.
Prefers a light humus-rich well-drained loam in a warm sunny sheltered position. Grow on mounds for ease of harvesting.
Provide even watering during the growing season as extreme drought has the potential to cause toxic aflatoxins to infect the peanuts.
Plants prefer hot dry conditions when the crop is ripening and during harvest.
Sow seed from September to December.
Pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow the seed 5-7cm deep in situ.
Bush varieties plant at 15cm spacing’s and running varieties 40 cm apart.
Seed, young pods
Risks and weed potential
Mouldy nuts should be disposed of immediately as they can be toxic.
No weed potential known.
Harvesting & Processing
Harvest peanuts once the leaves start to yellow. Lift the whole plant seeds and all from the soil. Shake off the soil, gently rinsing if necessary, and dry in a warm, well-ventilated area for one to two weeks.
Remove the peanuts and continue drying them in a single layer until the shells are crisp.