How is Peanut Butter Made? by pblovers April 19, 2011 Follow the PB making process from planting to harvesting to production! 1 // Peanuts are planted after the last frost in April, when soil temperatures warm up. The shelled peanut – or kernel – also is a seed. The kernels are planted two inches deep, and about one to two inches apart. 2 // The plant sprouts in about 10 days. Flowers form about 40 days after planting and pollinate themselves. The petals fall off when the peanut ovary forms and penetrates the soil. 3 // Peanuts are harvested 120-160 days after planting, usually in September and October. The soil can’t be too wet or too dry or the peanuts will stick in the ground. 4 // Farmers use machinery to loosen the plant and cut it free from the root. The plant is lifted off the ground and shaken to remove soil. The plant sits in the sun for two to three days to dry. After drying, machinery picks the peanuts off the vine. 5 // Harvested peanuts are taken to buying stations where they are weighed, graded and inspected to determine quality and value. 6 // After the buying station, peanuts travel to shelling plants. Here, farm materials, such as sticks and rocks, are removed, and the peanuts are sorted by size. They are shelled and inspected to eliminate immature kernels. The sheller packs the peanuts into bags or rail cars for delivery to manufacturers. 7 // Peanut butter manufacturers inspect the peanuts and roast them in special ovens. After roasting, the peanuts are cooled rapidly to halt the cooking process, retain an even color and prevent the loss of oil. 8 // From there, the peanuts are blanched, removing their skin. The kernels are split, the hearts are removed and the peanuts are cleaned and sorted a final time. 9 // Finally, the peanuts are ground twice, as one long grinding would produce too much heat, damaging the flavor. First, the peanuts are ground alone, then with ingredients like salt, sweetener and stabilizer (to keep the oil from separating).