A Native American edible perennial tuber!
Apios americana, also known colloquially as Indian Groundnut, is found in indigenous diets from Canada to the Gulf coast. This perennial from the pea family produces both edible tubers and podded beans. The vines can extend up to ten feet, with multi-colored flowers resembling wisteria from July to September. Fleshy tubers varying in size from one to eight centimeters are steamed, roasted, boiled, mashed, and can be dried then ground into a thickening powder for recipes. A bit sweeter than potatoes, but with lasting heartiness, possibly related to their high protein content (3x more than a standard potato).
How to Grow Groundnuts
Because of its vigorous vines that can grow up to ten feet in a single season and wrap themselves around other plants, we recommend creating a trellised planting area that you can dedicate to your Apios americana patch exclusively. This will make harvesting their tasty little tubers easier, and allow you to enjoy the stunning blossoms without worrying about them choking out your tomatoes. Plant in fall through winter, as soon as they are shipped, and harvest in late summer. Replant your smallest tubers for next years harvest. Harvested tubers can be stored for months in a root cellar or another cool area (very similar to potato storage).
How to Eat Groundnuts
One of our farmer's, Nat Bradford reports:
Groundnuts have an earthy potato flavor. They cook just like potatoes. You can boil and mash them, French-fry them, make chips, or roast them. They can be dried and ground into flour. They are very dense but creamy textured. Groundnuts need a little more cream to make them fluffy, but they really are fantastic. I’ve had them as chips when they were served at the Slow Food dinner in Charleston last year, and I’ve boiled and mashed them. I’m very curious about the groundnut flour.
Save and replant your smallest tubers for next years harvest. Harvested tubers can be stored for months in a root cellar or another cool area (very similar to potato storage).