October 12th, 2011
Does anyone know how peanuts grow? I know it seems like a dumb question, but they grow in the ground like potatoes. I learned that here and never before had I asked the question “where do peanuts grow?”
Peanuts are a big part of Swazi cuisine. They roast them for a snack, grind them up and cook it with spinach, and now my host Make makes peanut butter. One day she saw another Make selling homemade PB in town and told me she wanted to learn. I said I could teach her. I really don’t know how since I have never done it, but I know how its done in theory. So we ventured to the local market and bought a 1kg bag of peanuts. Then we roasted them over the fire (my family cooks on an open fire every day but they also have a gas stove and wood burning oven that they use sometimes). After letting them cool we shook the skins off and ground them through a hand grinder. I have never gotten a better ab workout then grinding these peanuts. We accidently over-roasted the peanuts so they ground up very dark, but it just makes roasted peanut butter. Then we added oil, sugar, and salt, and boom we had peanut butter.
We have some things to tweak for the next batch, but we are learning by our mistakes. We ended up with a large peanut butter container amount. This amount cost E40 in the grocery stores and we made the same amount for E20. It’s so economically smart to make it rather then buy it. Most Swazis grow their own peanuts also so its basically free, unless you add in the labor and time cost, but it only took us like 1.5-2 hours and for a stay at home mom why not.
Once we were done my Make was so happy. She had no idea she herself could make peanut butter. She kept saying she was so proud of herself and I said I was proud to! I would never decide one afternoon to just make PB at home in the states, but here it just made sense. Make eventually wants to perfect her recipe and sell it if she can find a market.