Mani or peanut is grown mainly as a snack food in my hometown. We roast or boil them in their shells or without shells, we fry them in oil and flavor them with garlic and salt. Almost every street corner in our town have peddlers selling fried or boiled peanuts. When you are traveling by bus, you will encounter sellers of peanuts inside the bus.
The most popular product out of this delicious legume is the peanut butter. Almost everyone loves peanut butter sandwich with jelly of course except for people who are allergic of peanuts. Peanut oil is also an important product from peanuts.
Peanut is the most fascinating member of the legume family (Fabaceae) because unlike other beans or legumes, the fruit develops underground hence the name subterranean legume. It is an annual plant that bears yellow flowers which forms at the base of the plant. After fertilization, the flower stalk of the peanut curves downward and the pods begin to develop under ground.
Like all members of the legume family, the peanut root system also contains nodules of nitrogen-fixing bacteria which is an added bonus to the soil just like clover or alfalfa, they are important cover crops or what we know as green manure.
After harvesting peanuts, it’s a good idea to plant leafy type vegetables like lettuce or spinach or do a crop rotation. The nitrogen in the ground would be well-appreciated by the next vegetable that you will plant.
As a gardener planting peanuts would be a challenge because you need a big farm to get a good yield. I have tried planting peanuts though just for fun and did get some peanuts, but since my area is limited I figured just leave the planting of peanuts to the professionals. But still, if you want to plant peanuts, the ground needs to be prepared like any other vegetable. Peanuts prefer sandy, loamy soil just like the Jicama. In my province, there are at least five municipalities or towns that are suitable for planting this crop. The recent Mt. Pinatubo eruption also contributed to the richness of the soil and became more fertile and the lava helped the soil to become more sandy which is good for drainage.
Peanuts need warm and sunny location. Philippines definitely fits the bill so we have an abundance of peanuts especially in the summertime.
Peanuts are a powerhouse of nutrition. It contains resveratrol, Vitamin E and B- Complex, and almost all minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium which are all known for fighting cancers.