Peanuts, originated in South America, are also known as groundnuts, goobers, earthnuts, monkey nuts, pindar, etc. Peanuts are rich in protein, fat, and fiber. They contain potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and they are high in calories and low in carbohydrates. We consume peanuts in many forms like roasted, salted, and chocolate-coated peanuts as well as peanut butter. Raw peanuts are the healthiest option. The next healthy option is peanut butter. But, how are peanuts made? Read below to find out!
1. Do Peanuts Grow on Trees?
Many people might find this as a surprise but peanuts, in fact, do not grow on trees. Peanuts come from plants in the Fabaceae family viz peas and beans family. Unlike real nuts that grow on trees, peanuts grow on pods that ripen underground, while other legumes such as lentils and peas grow on the surface. Peanuts are annual herbaceous plants that grow 30 to 50 cm high. (See What’s the difference between annuals and perennials?)
2. Where are Peanuts Planted?
Peanut seeds are planted about two inches deep and placed one to two inches between the seeds. Most peanut pods are grouped at the base of the plant, but some can be found several inches underground. Peanut plants require 1.5 to 2 inches of water per week for the cores to develop. It takes about five gallons of water per ounce of peanuts to be produced as compared with approximately 80 gallons of almonds per ounce. Peanut plants, Arachis hypogaea, are annual edible seeds that grow on shells or seed pods in near-surface soil. (See Does All Fruit Grow on Trees?)
3. What is the Average Growth Season?
Peanuts have a long growing season of 100 to 130 frost-free days so they can be planted on average for a few weeks with the last frost date being in spring and leap around the first of September. In locations with shorter growing seasons, peanut plants can be planted for four to five weeks indoors before moving into an outdoor garden. In West Africa, the peanut has been replaced by another plant from the same family, the Bambara peanut, from which seed pods develop. The next segment will cover how are peanuts made. (See How are Jelly Beans made?)
4. How are Peanuts Made?
- In the beginning, its flowers grow on the lower part of the peanut plant and last about a day. The yellow flowers are pollinated and when their petals fall off, the peanut ovaries/pegs begin to form.
- The pegs increase in size and grow into a plant, forming a small trunk that protrudes from the ground.
- At first, the peanut seedling rises above the soil about 10 days after planting them. They grow into green oval-leafed plants around 18 inches tall, but they fruit below the ground.
- Peanut embryo is in the tip of the peg, that penetrates the soil. It turns horizontally up towards the surface and begins to mature.
- The same process takes place for the plant and it gives 40 or more pods. So, this answers how are peanuts made.
5. What is the Season for Plantation?
American peanuts are planted in April or May after the last frost when soil temperatures are around 65 ° C to 70 ° F. Peanuts are harvested 120 to 160 days after planting using a machine called an excavator. Peanuts store 25 to 50 percent of the harvest with plenty of moisture, so hang the whole plant out to dry for two weeks. (See Rhode Island Smallest State in USA)
6. How do Peanuts get Harvested?
When the plants are ripe enough and the peanuts can be harvested, farmers wait until the soil is not too wet or too dry to dig. Peanut harvest time is around 90 to 110 days after plantation. Normally, peanuts are harvested in fall when the leaves begin to turn yellow. The pods are the best indicators to determine when to dig. When the interior of the pod is dark, the peanuts are over matured. An excavator pulls the plant up, shakes off any remaining soil, rotates the plant, and lays it in a torrent of peanut leaves. (See Emu War Casualties)
7. How to Grow Peanuts?
- To grow peanuts, you need to start with fresh, raw, uncooked peanuts in their shells.
- Place the peanut seeds about two centimeters deep in about eight centimeters of loose, well-drained soil. The developing pods must be able to push through the soil as they grow. They usually require a soil temperature of about 65 F for germination.
- During the growth season, peanuts require around one inch of water every week. Try to use the land of sandy soil with a warm climate to produce good results.
- Plant the seeds between April and late June. The ideal time is said to be the first week of May when the soil is warm and moist.
- Depending on the variety, the plant harvest cycle for peanuts lasts around 4 to 5 months.
- The trick to growing peanuts in the north is to choose ripe varieties such as early Spanish, which are 100 days or longer, and plant them on a southern slope if possible. (See what is the Peanut Gallery?)