Apios americana- Groundnut. Hopniss


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Out for the season due to early warm weather

Groundnuts ship between October and March. The price is 10 large or 20 small for $35.00 or 100 for $250.00 all have free shipping

Apios americana- Groundnut
Apios americana- Groundnut

Apios americana- Groundnut, Hopniss,  is a native plant in the Eastern United States that grows from parts of Canada to the north, south into Florida and as far west as Colorado. It is in the bean family. It is viny like a bean, has leaves that look like a bean leaf and has maroon flowers that look like bean flowers. It even makes an edible bean as a seed. In addition, Groundnuts make an edible tuber much like a small potato that grow along the roots like a string of potato pearls. The roots are higher in protein than a potato and contain several other vitamins.

Groundnuts were a regular food of Native Americans. They have several names. Every group of Indigenous people had their own name for this important food. Hopniss and Openauk are two native names. Europeans call them Groundnut, Indian Potato and Potato Bean. The Japanese, who have been growing Groundnuts in cultivation for 100 years, call them Hodoimo. The Native Peoples selected improved varieties that they kept growing near village sites. There has been and continues to be research into growing these as a commercial crop. Currently the best yield is after two or more growing seasons.

The Groundnut is a vining plant that will climb whatever is available to climb. The tubers form along long roots beneath the plant. They need average fertility and plenty of sun. They will be easier to dig in a loose or sandy soil. The tubers form as small tubers the first year and continue to grow the next year. The best harvest is from a two year old plant. They will grow for many years but the older tubers can become woody and tough as they age. They keep well in the ground so you can dig them as you need them. Should you choose to harvest all at once, they keep well in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with damp peat moss. Don’t let them freeze or they will spoil.

The plants can grow in full sun or partial shade. A trellis or something for them to climb will help keep the contained. We grow them in large pots which helps us at harvest time. Even so, a few escape through the holes in the bottom of the pot. Harvest is always an adventure. The fun kind. They can be planted and harvested at any time. We ship them through the winter and early spring so they don’t get too hot during transit.

Groundnuts have a nutty potato like flavor and can be used like potatoes in most recipes. The texture is similar to a russet potato. They are  good in soups and stews. They can be fried and make a very good chip. Salt immediately or the salt won’t stick. They can be boiled and mashed like potatoes. They do not reheat well. They get very sticky when reheated. The roots can be dried and ground into a flour which is good in soups as a thickening agent.  I am sure one day my Chef friends will come up with some delicious ways to prepare these.

Groundnuts are high in protein, as high as 17%. 3 times the protein of potatoes. They are high in Iron and Calcium. They contain similar Amino Acids to beans. All parts of the plant are edible. Flowers, leaves and seeds. The bean pods are best eaten when young. They get tough as they mature. The beans themselves can be cooked but they are quite small and would need a long cooking time to get soft. Note that some people can have an allergic reaction to groundnuts and they can cause others to have some gastric distress and gas. Peeling them seems to help with the gastric distress. Groundnuts are very dense so longer cooking times are recommended, at least 30 minutes. Longer cooking seems to eliminate digestive issues to some degree Apparently Native Americans are immune to these effects. It is suggested to keep servings to an ounce or less to begin with to see if you tolerate them well.

Apios americana- Groundnut
Apios americana- Groundnut

Additional information


10 large tubers ($35, includes shipping), 20 small tubers ($35, includes shipping), 100 small tubers ($250, includes shipping)