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Old-Fashioned Peanuts for Every Climate

Learn how to grow peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) and incorporate the unique legume into a variety of seasonal peanut recipes.

| Fall 2017

  • These peanuts were grown by the author’s grandmother and have stayed in the family.
    Photo by Cindy Barlowe
  • Before the Civil War, the peanut had various common names, including ground nut, goober, goober pea, pindar, ground pea, and probably other monikers lost to antiquity.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Brent Hofacker
  • Peanuts are legumes that form underground.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Volk1945
  • Leaf spot can be devastating, so learn to recognize its signs early.
    Photo by John C. French Sr.; www.Bugwood.org
  • According to numerous sources, the ‘Carolina African Runner’ was the “it” peanut during Colonial times, prized for its flavor and high oil content.
    Photo by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Few taste-related memories are connected to my childhood like the peanut. My mother enticed my brother and me to take breaks from outdoor summer play with peanut butter sandwiches, and when our father organized fishing trips, we packed peanut butter on crackers as a snack. We shelled roasted peanuts while watching The Jetsons, Lost in Space, and other favorite shows on our black-and-white television, and we competed with our cousins for a taste of grandmother’s sugar-coated peanuts at family gatherings. Although our family’s peanut history is like that of many other families, there’s one striking difference. Most of our peanuts came not from a supermarket, but from my grandmother’s garden, grown from heirloom seed passed down through her family for generations.

In 2010, my parents cleaned their chest freezer and uncovered a recycled plastic container that held my grandmother’s peanuts. Because my farm, Heart & Sole Gardens, had space to include another special crop, my parents passed the seeds to me. That spring, I prepared a row, and as I dropped the seeds into rich soil, I couldn’t resist popping one into my mouth. The sweet flavor was pure childhood memory. When we harvested a bumper crop from those seeds, it was like restoring a special person to my life.

Peanut Fruit Roll Recipe

Recipe for Boiled and Roasted Peanuts



Peanut History

The modern peanut, Arachis hypogaea, boasts a rich history. South Americans decorated pottery with peanut images as long as 3,500 years ago, and Incans entombed peanuts with mummies as gifts for the afterlife.



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