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My first ever groundnut harvest

 
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I have slowly been planting more perennial foods around the homestead. Last spring, I mail ordered six small tubers of groundnuts (Apios americana AKA hopniss). My husband built a raised bed and planted them. The other day, I harvested!

Very fun to dig for and find.

I took mostly the largest ones and left the teeny ones to grow next year.

They're one of the Blackmon developed strains.

Of course, we wanted to try them, so my first cooking experiment was roasting some with carrots, onions, and the last of the garden broccoli.

This was the official taste test!

We liked the flavor very much, but I think a moist heat cooking method would be better. Roasting dried them out quite a bit.

I trimmed off the thick connecting roots when I washed them. I chopped these up and fed them to the goats. They liked them too!

Peeling them for roasting gave me an idea of the best size to work with. Of the littlest tubers I harvested, I will plant elsewhere around the homestead.
 
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awesome! i’m a groundnut fan. agreed, they can dry out with dry roasting. try leaving a couple of the bigger ones to regrow one time, that’s how to get real potato-sized ones.
 
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Nice! Those are on my list to try eventually. Do you have to peel them? I often use small red, yellow or blue potatoes without peeling them and I was curious if groundnuts could be used in a similar way. Would save time and make it easier to use the smaller ones.
 
Leigh Tate
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greg mosser wrote:awesome! i’m a groundnut fan. agreed, they can dry out with dry roasting. try leaving a couple of the bigger ones to regrow one time, that’s how to get real potato-sized ones.


Greg, thanks for that tip! I'm sure I left quite a few in the ground. Bigger would definitely be easier to prepare.

Daron Williams wrote:Nice! Those are on my list to try eventually. Do you have to peel them? I often use small red, yellow or blue potatoes without peeling them and I was curious if groundnuts could be used in a similar way. Would save time and make it easier to use the smaller ones.


Daron, I read that even cooked, the peels aren't digestible and can be very gas forming. I don't usually peel vegetables, but I did peel these for that reason. Not daring enough to test out that statement! lol
 
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Nice harvest, Leigh!

We've wanted to get groundnuts started, but we don't know of a good source. Are you allowed to share where you purchased yours?
 
greg mosser
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i might could sell some.u
 
Leigh Tate
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Stacie Kim wrote:We've wanted to get groundnuts started, but we don't know of a good source. Are you allowed to share where you purchased yours?


Well, I don't really recall! I think it was Sow True Seed. And Oikos Trees sells them. I've ordered from both companies and have been happy with products and service.

Greg (comment above ^) lives in the same region, so you might take him up on his offer.
 
greg mosser
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both of those are good options!
 
Stacie Kim
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greg mosser wrote:i might could sell some.u



May I purple mooseage you about this offer?
 
greg mosser
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you may indeed.
Content minimized. Click to view
 
Leigh Tate
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Daron Williams wrote:Nice! Those are on my list to try eventually. Do you have to peel them? I often use small red, yellow or blue potatoes without peeling them and I was curious if groundnuts could be used in a similar way. Would save time and make it easier to use the smaller ones.


Daron, I just watched two videos in which the groundnuts were cooked without peeling. So maybe it isn't as necessary as I first read! I'll have to experiment and see what we think.
 
greg mosser
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they peel pretty easily after cooking, too. i’ve eaten the peel many times without really significant issues. the main thing is just that the peel is really thick and tough, and not really pleasant to eat from a texture standpoint.
 
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Greg, do you have several patches? Under what conditions do they grow best for you?
 
greg mosser
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in the wild, groundnuts are mostly a riparian species. they don’t want to be soaking in water, but they want constant access to it. they’re okay with part shade, and want something to climb.

since they grow their tubers in long strings, they tend to ‘run’ - in the orchard where i have some planted i’ve had vines pop up 10 feet away from the original plant, in the middle of the mowing alley. because of this tendency, i grow the majority of mine in those large cloth grow-bags, and the strings of tubers usually end up coiled along the bottom of the pots. being in pots makes in necessary to water regularly, though, that’s the trade-off. i tend to keep the same ‘mother’ tubers for years, which in the improved selections get bigger every year. they’re still edible at great sizes, but they get little woody veins through them that makes them less pleasant to deal with.

i do also have them planted in a number of other places and they do well, but retrieval becomes a problem.

here’s a picture of three older ‘grandmother’ tubers and some strings of new first-year tubers. the big one there weighs 1.85lbs and there’s bigger ones. those bigger tubers are a little past their prime, but i’m going to make chips out of one of the big ones today anyway.
C8817064-F137-45C2-A8B3-F1BB2F521D17.jpeg
‘grandmother’ tubers and some strings of new first-year tubers.
 
greg mosser
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chips! even quite big, they’re still really good. this is half of one of those big ones, parboiled, sliced thin, fried in bacon grease and salted!
9A05A690-D9EB-414F-817F-D67B8A0FE3C6.jpeg
how to cook apios americana tubers
5FA64932-465B-4420-855B-2387592E6C1E.jpeg
chips apios big ones, parboiled, sliced thin, fried in bacon grease and salted!
 
Leigh Tate
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More experimenting. I started by boiling a big batch of groundnuts, which we ate fresh out of the pot one day with a little salt and butter. Then I heated and mashed the rest another day. I peeled them, and after reading the advice here didn't worry about being too meticulous with my peeling. Both ways were delicious.
homegrown-dinner.JPG
Boiled groundnuts, homegrown home-canned green beans, and home harvested chevon.
Boiled groundnuts, homegrown home-canned green beans, and home harvested chevon.
hopniss2.JPG
Mashed groundnuts with homegrown frozen snow peas, but I bought the pork chops.
Mashed groundnuts with homegrown frozen snow peas, but I bought the pork chops.
 
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Just today I got such a groundnut and planted it. I hope to see it grow and then harvest my own groundnuts.
 
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We planted about a dozen around 4 years ago. This year I think we'll try harvesting. I should put quotes around "harvesting" as we're pushing our luck, zone-wise, and I suspect that where we live, they maybe shouldn't be planted in part shade. If the harvest is a dud, perhaps we'll move some or all to a better site. Like Montana. Sigh.
 
greg mosser
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if the plants come back every year, you must have something.
 
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These seem like perfect candidates for a barrel sized sub irrigated planter.
In my experience these planters are very good for things that need a constant source of water, but not so good for something like herbs, for example.
The loose soil should make harvesting easy.
A baby pool grow bag garden would work similarly and be even easier to harvest.

Tubers in bags seems like nice design for urban growers.
Ground nut, potatoes, jchokes, yams, maybe yacon,  there are plenty more choices.



 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Today we planted a groundnut root in a large pot (sort of bucket) in the community garden of Permacultuur Meppel. Given by the same friend who gave me one (a piece of root with some tubers) too
 
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greg mosser wrote:if the plants come back every year, you must have something.



You would think. Unfortunately, it looks as though the voles have raided the groundnut patch. And the sunchoke patch. I'm going to wait a bit longer for the frost to go down before digging around.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Michael Helmersson wrote:

greg mosser wrote:if the plants come back every year, you must have something.



You would think. Unfortunately, it looks as though the voles have raided the groundnut patch. And the sunchoke patch. I'm going to wait a bit longer for the frost to go down before digging around.


That must be it! Voles take sunchokes! I asked myself: how is it possible there are sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) growing outside the original place, which is all bordered with concrete tiles (at my allotment garden). But now I think it is possible the voles took some of the tubers away and didn't eat all of them. And then one (or more) of those tubers sprouted there. Beware of the voles ... (Jerusalem artichokes are only allowed at the allotment gardens when they are grown in an enclosed space or planter).
Sorry if this becomes a little off-topic, it was a thought that appeared in my mind after reading that.

 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
Sorry if this becomes a little off-topic, it was a thought that appeared in my mind after reading that.



That's not off-topic at all. I like your way of thinking rather than mine. Instead of "Voles took my tubers!", I should be exclaiming "Voles are helping me propagate my tubers!".
 
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One more experiment. This time I tried to make hopniss flour and tested it out as a thickener for gravy.

I peeled, sliced, and dehydrated a dozen or so groundnuts.

Once they dried to rock hard, I powdered them in my blender.

I used 1 tablespoon hopniss flour to 1 cup broth and brought to a boil.

Served over chicken and baked potatoes.

The flavor was excellent, but the flour didn't thicken the gravy very well. I'm thinking that's because my blender didn't really make a fine flour, it was more course. So maybe it would work better if it could be more like powder and less like grits(?) I don't think my blender can do that! Even though it didn't turn out like I hoped, I'm glad I tried it anyway.
 
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By any chance, does your variety also produce the seeds.. If so, do you have any more? Even just a small tuber? I have been trying to find them for two years and having no luck. 😊 Thank you!

Gwen
Gwen.junge@gmail.com
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Gwen Junge wrote:By any chance, does your variety also produce the seeds..


I purchased mine from Greg last season. The beans were produced late in my growing season. Here is his groundnut page.
hopnis5900.jpg
beans set on Hopniss plant
 
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Last year was my first year growing groundnuts, which I purchased from Greg Mosser.  I set up a experiment, with three growing conditions:

1. two tubers in a felt grow-bag filled with pebbles, leaf mold, compost, and garden soil set on the ground.
2. two tubers in identical felt grow-bag, but buried and with edge folded down just a bit to allow soil critters (and maybe mycellium?) to enter.
3. the remaining tuber just planted in the ground with a little wire trellis marking the spot.

I used oak stakes, clothesline, and netting to make a trellis for all of them to climb.  I hopes they might clamber over the adjacent currant bushes also.



While there was some difference in the amount of sunlight available in each placement, I tried to treat them as equal as possible.

All the plants grew well.  The above-gound set were the earliest to emerge.

I tried one tuber from the above-ground bag, but otherwise didn't harvest this first season, b/c had been advised they need 2 seasons to really get established. The one I tried boiled was yummy, a lot like cassava.



So now on to the second year. I left them in situ over Chicago winter.  So far, only the in-ground growbag shows any signed of life. :|.   It has three shoots with leaves, which may be a little hard to pick out in the photo.



I decided to dig through the other grow-bag for a post-mortem. I found a few good-sized tubers, but they were soft and spongy and dead. I suspect that they froze over winter. So my takeaway is that above-ground is not an option for Chicago.  I'm not sure what happened to the uncontained set.


(large rotten tuber)

I hope to get enough new tubers off the remaining plants to propagate. Buried in grow-bags seems like the way to go, at least in my climate.


 
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Unburied grow bags would need to be stored in an unheated but freeze free space like a garage or crawlspace for the winter.  I bring my grow bags with potatoes into the greenhouse where they start growing earlier than they could outside though potatoes do overwinter outside in my climate.  Started yacon in grw bags this year because voles ate the storage tubers when I left them in the ground too long.
 
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The 'volunteer' groundnuts at the allotment garden are doing very well! At the spots where I like them to be I put bamboo sticks for them to climb in. If I don't forget I'll make photos of them ...
Last year I harvested a few of the roots with 'nuts'. I mixed them in stews, so I can not say I know how they taste. Probably this year I'll do the same.
Every time some of the roots stay in the ground and will give new 'volunteers' the next year.
 
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You might try a coffee/spice grinder instead of a big blender. I find they usually grind much finer, to powder.
 
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