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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Plant Some Goober Peas

You’re a Goober!

Ever wonder where that phrase comes from? It means common, ordinary, like a goober pea, also known as a peanut. We seldom hear the term, “goober” any more but that was once the common name for the peanut. Since peanuts and peanut butter prices continue to be on the high side, how about planting your own peanuts this  year?

You’ll need to buy peanut seed from a seed company, and the seed should still be in the shell in order to be fresh. Most peanuts require 120 to 140 days to mature from planting time. When you’re ready to plant the seed, remove the shell and plant 2-3 seeds in a pot indoors, about 3 or 4 weeks before the last date when frost is expected, to give the plants a head start. When the weather is warm enough, carefully transplant your peanuts to a prepared bed in the garden. Add a bit of lime to the soil as you are preparing it to keep the pH in balance. Be careful when transplanting so as to not disturb the roots. Plant the peanut plants about a foot apart in rows and thin to 1 plant per spot. Most people grow peanuts in hills or berns, but raised beds work well, too.
Ready for transplanting.

When the plants begin to bloom, they will put down what’s called, “pegs” from each flower. The pegs are like little rootlets that grow downward from the plant’s limbs into the soil, several per stem. Each peg will grow a peanut in the ground. Don’t cut those off and don’t till around the plant once the plant starts flowering. Each plant should produce from 30 to 50 peanuts per plant.

There are both vining and bush-type peanuts and most gardeners plant the “Virginia” or bush variety. If you have a lot of space, the vining types produce well, also. Those will take up about as much space as sweet potato vines. But most gardeners like the bush types to conserve space.

Water the plants like you would green beans or similar crops. When the peanuts are ready in the fall, the plant will begin to yellow and wilt. When that happens, pull up the entire plant and hang the plants in a warm, dry place for a couple of weeks to let the peanuts cure. You can pull the peanuts off the plant at that time and let them continue drying for another couple of weeks. They are then ready for roasting or boiling. Or you can leave the peanuts in their shells and keep in the refrigerator or freezer for about 6 months. You can make your own peanut butter or just eat them from the shell, after oven-roasting. If you grow a lot, you can store them raw, still in their shell, for about 3 months, in a well-ventilated place that is both dark and dry.

Several companies offer peanut seed. One is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Also Gurney’sBurpee and Local Harvest offer peanut seed.

You will find more facts and information at the Peanut Institute, too.

Quick & Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup Truvia sugar substitute (made from the stevia plant)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup favorite peanut butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream shortening til fluffy. Gradually add sugar, mixing til creamy. Beat in eggs. Add peanut butter,  blending well. Add dry ingredients, mixing again. Shape dough into small teaspoon size balls and press flat with a fork on a cookie bake sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

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