On Making Boiled Peanuts

Upon moving southward nearly four years ago I made some very serious efforts to adapt myself to the various southern cuisines that are such a big part of living in the southern states.  Several were quite easy to get behind.  How could one not like something as southern as barbecue?  Others, however, are definitely a little bit more odd or less appealing to the masses.  While I have come to love fried green tomatoes and grits, I know that these are not food things that commonly appeal to everybody.  If I am going to list the one truly odd southern food that I have encountered, so alien to me at first that I had never even know it was a thing, it totally has to be boiled peanuts.

Growing up in New England peanuts were always consumed in pretty much one way, roasted.  it had never occurred to me that you could boil green peanuts and eat them like some sort of odd salty beans.  In fact, when I  first heard that this was a  thing my natural reaction was to gag at the very thought.  Who the fuck would want to eat squishy salty peanuts which, admittedly, didn’t even really taste like peanuts?  However, being the daring food consumer that I am, I decided to give boiled peanuts a shot, and four years hence I have come to love them in their own right.

While I have had boiled peanuts many a time in the past few years I have never really given it a shot to make my own.  Mostly this was just because I hadn’t taken the time to buy any green peanuts to do it with.  However, a few weeks back a bought a bag of green peanuts to make my own boiled ones.  In truth there is not lot of science that goes into boiling peanuts (as best as I can tell).  I checked several sources, and besides a general ambiguity on whether you should soak the peanuts for at least a night first, the approach seems to be the same: green peanuts, enough water to cover them in a large pot, and copious amounts of salt.  I few source recommended adding some crushed chili pepper or black pepper for a little additional flavoring (I did both).  Besides these few things, all it takes is some good boiling.  And boiling.  And even more boiling.

Look, if you are looking for a quick fix of a snack then boiled peanuts might not be for you.  Even after a good five hours of boiling them, mine were still not to the optimal softness.  This is a time-consuming treat, and as such I doubt I will be doing it all too often.  However, the end result was very satisfactory, and I have enjoyed getting to munch on them the last couple of days.

So if you are looking for a southern style snack, which is quite different in many regards, try giving boiled peanuts a shot.  You may be surprised how tasty they can be.

~ by Nathaniel on April 12, 2011.

2 Responses to “On Making Boiled Peanuts”

  1. Boiled peanuts are, without a doubt, the final frontier for southern food appreciation. There texture is a cross between a booger and an eyeball (not that I’ve eaten either of course) and that makes it difficult to like. But once you accept the texture and enjoy the taste there is not much in the south you can’t eat.

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