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Peanuts: Grow 'em to Eat 'em

This is a fun project for the whole family. You'll be surprse at the success rate! Check your local extension office for the best times to plant peanuts ... or design and build your own mini greenhouse for a peanut plant or two (or three).

Harvesting and Curing Peanuts

Peanuts need to be cured in the sun. You can do this by making small “haystacks” of them right in the garden and leaving them there for a few weeks, or by laying them one layer deep up off the ground in a sunny place for several days. The tin roof of a shed works well.

When the vines dry, you can remove the pods and then put them in a burlap sack and hang the sack in a dry place for a few weeks. Never store in a cool, damp basement, as the moisture still in the uncured pods will cause them to mildew and rot. Two months of curing time will make the peanuts fit for roasting or for storing more permanently.

Peanuts Roasting

Peanuts may be eaten raw or prepared by one of the following basic methods for use as snacks or as an ingredient in recipes.

Conventional Oven Roasting ("Parching"): Place raw peanuts, in-shell or shelled, one layer deep in a shallow baking pan. Roast in a 350 F--15 to 20 minutes for shelled and 20 to 25 minutes for in-shell peanuts. (Remove from heat just short of doneness desired, as peanuts continue to cook as they cool.)

Microwave Oven Roasting--Shelled Peanuts: Place two cups raw shelled peanuts in a 10"x6" glass or similar microwave container. Dot with butter or margarine. Microwave on HIGH for two minutes. Stop. Stir peanuts. Continue to microwave 10 minutes for light roast; 12 minutes for regular roast. Remove from microwave. Season to taste. CAUTION: peanuts continue to cook as they cool. Cooking time may very with oven.

Oil Roasting (French Frying): 2 cups raw shelled red skin or blanched peanuts; 1˝ cups peanut oil or enough to cover peanuts. In an electric skillet, deep fryer or heavy sauce pan heat oil to 350 F. Add peanuts and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until just under doneness desired. Drain on paper. Season to taste.

Peanut Butter

4 quarts skinned, shelled, roasted Virginia peanuts
2 quarts skinned, shelled, roasted Spanish peanuts
2 T. salt

Grind nuts in a food chopper or blender; add salt and regrind until smooth and creamy. Pack into hot jars, leaving 1" headspace. Adjust caps. Process half-pints one hour in a boiling water bath. Yield about 6 pints. NOTE: if shelled and salted nuts are used, do not add salt.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 qt. half-and-half
1 c. sugar
1 c. chunk-style peanut butter
2 t. vanilla extract

Mix half-and-half and peanut butter in a saucepan and heat slowly, scalding (but do not boil). Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Cool. Add vanilla extract. Chill, crank, and freeze.


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