I love Boiled Peanuts, but I can’t say that I have had the pleasure of eating many in my life. They aren’t something that you can find in Atlanta, I only discovered them when I was about 14 driving up to the North Georgia Mountains with my sister, also a virgin to boiled peanuts, and a friend, she insisted that we pull over to a boiled peanut stand on the side of the road. I thought that they were amazing the first time I tried them, but it has been about 17 years since I have had them again. Not too many trips to the mountains, and a number of years away from the South.
I thought that boiled peanuts were a Georgia thing, but after having moved to South Carolina, I’ve discovered that they are just Southern because you can find a boiled peanut stand at every corner. They are served as appetizers at some restaurants and even found in bags at the grocery store. They are probably more popular in South Carolina than they are in Georgia, but South Carolinians take a lot more pride in their regional cuisine than Georgians do, which is wonderfully refreshing.
I bought myself a cup of boiled peanuts at the Daniel Island Farmers market on Thursday, they were deliciously salty, but with a deeper flavor than roasted peanuts. Of course these had been boiled the day that I ate them, and not months before in a factory to be sealed up and placed on the shelf at my grocery store. It is sometimes easy to forget that peanuts are grown in this part of the country, they are sold to us the same way that fruit loops are, having no specific root and the only address you find is the manufacturing plant, not the farm that they came from.
I found this recipe online, with a short history of the boiled peanut, I don’t think that I will try this at home, with the plethora of boiled peanut stands around Charleston, I won’t go hungry for them.
4 to 5 pounds green (raw) peanuts in shell 4 to 6 quarts water 1 cup plain salt
Wash unshelled peanuts thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear; then soak in cool, clean water for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.
In a large pot, place soaked peanuts and cover completely with water. Add 1 cup of salt per gallon of water. Cook, covered, on high heat for 4 to 7 hours.
NOTE: the cooking time of boiled peanuts varies according to the maturity of the peanuts used and the variety of peanuts. The cooking time for a ‘freshly pulled” or green peanut is shorter than for a peanut that has been stored for a time.
Boil the peanuts for about 4 hours, then taste. Taste again i 10 minutes, both for salt and texture. Keep cooking and tasting until the peanuts reach desired texture (when fully cooked, the texture of the peanut should be similar to that of a cooked dry pea or bean).
Remove from heat and drain peanuts after cooking or they will absorb salt and become over salted.
Peanuts may be eaten hot or at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold, shelling as you eat them.
Freezing boiled peanuts:
Prepare peanuts as indicated above. Drain, allow to cool, and freeze in airtight containers. They keep indefinitely.
Canning Boiled Peanuts: Prepare peanuts and brine the same as for boiling for immediate use.
Pack peanuts into jars to within one-half inch of the top, using equal weights of peanuts and hot brine (212°F). Partially submerge containers in upright position in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Seal while hot and process 45 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Cool containers in water, label, and store away from heat.