A Native American perennial, edible 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
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.
Sow True Seed’s Groundnuts
The Groundnuts we are supplying have been grown by Nat Bradford in Irmo SC. Nat is an experimental farmer working with family heirlooms and landrace crops and is a good friend of Sow True Seed (See the Bradford Watermelon, Bradford Okra and Bradford Collards, and Carolina African Runner Peanuts).
This Groundnut tuber stock is the strain developed by LSU, LA85-034 (started in the 1980s ).
About 5 years ago Randy Peele, who was my Senior Horticulturalist, decided to take on growing this as a a perennial food addition to our nursery stock. We bought 4 tubers of an abandoned LSU select stock for $9 each! From there we have multiplied it and developed an agriculture model into what was last year the first commercial crop of groundnuts in the US.
We’re now excited to make these available to you so you can introduce them into your perennial food systems, or continue experimenting (Like Nat) with growing them in containers.
1oz., $9.95 / 2 oz., $13.95 (approx. 8-12 tubers per ounce).