Those who are more interested can pick American peanuts in the garden. Native to America it is understood that this beautiful perennial vine bears the botanical name that bears compromise Americana. The natural range extends from northeastern Canada to Florida and west to Texas and the Dakota.
Growing American Groundnuts
Many Indians, including early European settlers, used this plant as an important food. The flavor of the tuber is very similar to that of a delicious nutty potato and they grow like pearls on a necklace along with the thick roots of the plant. The very fragrant flowers, burgundy red and cream, are typical of the legume family to which they belong. They are as edible as the young shoots and pods of the plant. The flowers are some of the most beautiful and curious that I have ever seen; They are almost reason enough to grow American peanuts.
Although this vine is considered a pest by some because it can grow over ten feet and engulf other plants in a single season, I find it a nice addition to my garden. When carried by a fence or shelf, the American peanut is an edible treasure.
How to harvest American Groundnuts
To harvest the tubers, wait until the plant has been exposed to severe frost (this will soften the tubers), remove part of the plant, and remove the tubers from the roots. Make sure to leave some of the plant intact so that it can come back the next season. The collected tubers can be stored in a root cellar or other cool, dry place for months. Try them baked, grilled, or fried in butter with chopped shallots.