History of Boiled Peanuts
Boiled peanuts are a traditional snack in South Carolina, North Carolina,
Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. They are an acquired taste, but according
to southerners, they are totally addictive. From May through November, all
over the south, you will see roadside stands - ranging from woodsheds to
shiny trailers - offering fresh boiled peanuts. Sometimes they are hard to
open with your fingers, and you must resort to using your teeth, but
according to most people, they are worth the trouble.
Southerners will tell you boiled peanuts should
always be accompanied by a beer, sweet tea, or a soft drink. Traditionally
they are eaten outside where it doesn't matter if wet shells are tossed or
spit on the ground.
Boiled peanuts are green or raw nuts that are
boiled in salty water for hours outdoors over a fire. The shells turn soggy,
and the peanuts take on a fresh, legume flavor. A green peanut is not green
in color, just freshly harvested. It takes ninety to a hundred days to grow
peanuts for boiling, and they are available only during May through November
throughout the southern states. One of the drawbacks of boiled peanuts is
that they have a very short shelf life unless refrigerated or frozen. If you
leave them out on the kitchen counter for 3 to 4 days, they become slimy and
No one knows just why southerners started
boiling peanuts or who was the first to boil them. However, it is believed that
boiled peanuts have been a southern institution since at least the Civil War
(1861-1865), when Union General William T. Sherman
(1820-1891) led his troops on their march through Georgia.
As a result of General Sherman's campaign in Georgia, the Confederacy was
split in two and deprived of much needed supplies.
Contemporary writings are full of complaints
of lack of bread and meat. The great concern of the Confederate government
was to feed the army. When troops of the Confederacy were without food,
peanuts were an important nutritional source. Since cooking facilities were
scarce, soldiers roasted the peanuts over campfires or boiled them. It seems
to be lost in history as to who came up with the idea of adding salt to the
peanuts when boiling them. What they were doing by boiling in salt, is an
ancient preservation technique. It was discovered that these boiled peanuts
would keep and not spoil in their kits for up to seven day. The salt works
as a preservative, and the boiling kills impurities and bacteria. This
produced a high protein ration that could be carried by the soldier. As salt
was also scarce during the Civil War, history doesn't tell us how the
confederate soldiers had enough salt to use, unless salt meat, a large part
of the army ration, was used somehow.
Confederate soldiers also adopted peanuts as
a cheap coffee substitute along with parched rye, wheat, corn, sweet
potatoes, chestnuts, chicory, and cotton seed . Some history books note that
Confederate soldiers from Georgia were known as "goober grabbers."
It was during the slave-trading years of the
17th and 18th centuries that the peanut was first brought to the
southeastern United States, and for a long time it was assumed that the
peanut had originated in Africa. However, peanuts actually originated in
Brazil and Peru.
- On May 1, 2006, Gov. Mark Sanford came to York County and
officially signed into law, H.4585, to make the boiled peanut South Carolina's
official state snack food. Tom Stanford, a Winthrop
University graduate, came up with the idea in a government class because he
likes boiled peanuts:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly finds that boiled peanuts are a delicious
and popular snack food that are found both in stores and roadside stands across the State, and this
unique snack food is defined as peanuts that are immersed in boiling water for at least one hour
while still in the shell. The General Assembly further finds that this truly Southern delicacy is
worthy of designation as the official state snack food.
Boiled Peanuts Recipe - How To Boil Green Peanuts
Judging from the many variations on recipes for boiled peanuts, there
appears to be no wrong way to boil green peanuts.
The important thing is the many tastings needed to determine when they are done. You must taste test
the boiled peanuts for saltiness and firmness, as some people prefer soft nuts to firmer ones.
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 4 hr
4 to 5 pounds green (raw) peanuts in shell*
4 to 6 quarts water
1 cup plain salt per gallon of water
* Only use peanuts that are green (uncured). Not the
color green, but fresh raw peanuts which are called green peanuts. The peanuts must not be roasted or already cooked or dried.
Wash unshelled peanuts thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear (removing loose soil and sprouts,
stems, weeds, and leaves); then soak in cool, clean water for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.
In a large heavy pot, place soaked peanuts and cover completely with water.
Stir to "settle" the peanuts. Add enough water to cover the peanuts by 2 inches or more.
Add 1 cup of salt per gallon of water used. Other spices or seasonings (such
as shrimp or crab boil, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, and other strong spices) may be added at this point, if desired.
Bring water to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the peanuts simmer, covered, for approximately 4 hours (may take longer), stirring
occasionally, and then taste. Add additional water as needed to keep the peanuts covered.
Taste again in 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).
To check whether they are done, pull 1 or 2 peanuts out of the pot and crack them open.
When they are soft, they are done. If they are still slightly crunchy, they are not done yet, If they are not
salty enough, leave them in the salted water and turn off the heat.
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.
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. The peanuts may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one (1) week.
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 sterilized 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.
Comments from readers:
Henry L. Neuman Salcedo (5/09/11)
Boiled Peanuts Tip:
When you boil your own peanuts, snap off the tip of each raw peanut
before boiling them. This will add flavor to the peanuts and it will be
easier for you to open them at the end.
Karen Garner of Huntsville, AL (2/10/10)
Cooking in a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot):
Loved all the letters on boiled peanuts. For inside cooking, an easy way to make boiled
peanuts is in the slow cooker (crock pot). Soak nuts then put
salt water and peanuts in the cooker. Put on slow (low) cook and
let the peanuts cook all night. Check if tender or salty enough. If not
to your liking, add more salt and water if, needed, and cook longer.
I am a native Californian, transplanted to Wisconsin, moved back to
California, moved to Colorado and now back in SE Wisconsin. As a
child and adult, I have never liked peanuts! When I became an
adult, I learned to like peanuts, as long as it was with something
sweet (peanut butter & jelly, peanut butter & honey, peanuts &
chocolate), but to this day, I still can't eat a peanut or peanut
butter by itself.
I was introduced to boiled peanuts when I lived in Colorado. My
ex-husband's cousin was from Alabama. She visited her hometown and
returned with all her favorites.......boiled peanuts, sugar cane,
cane syrup and a dark purple berry that I can't remember the name
now. Boy, did I instantly fall in love with the boiled peanuts!
I've discovered that if a person loves roasted peanuts, they have a
hard time liking boiled peanuts (but it's probably because they
can't get used to the texture & taste). I could only find the
canned kind up here in Wisconsin and it was from a store that
specialized in southern foods (they trucked it up here themselves).
My current husband in an over-the-road trucker and makes it down to
the southern states once in awhile. I asked him to keep an eye out
for boiled peanuts for me. He just called me and said he found a
roadside stand and picked up 3 bags for me and a bag of green
peanuts. The vendor told him how to boil them. That's how I came
across your website, looking for a recipe! It was great to read
about the history and to read everyone's comments. I will mention
boiled peanuts to the native Wisconsinites and 99% of them have
never heard of them! My ex-mother-in-law was from Mississippi and I
remember hearing her stories about peanuts in her Coke. And, she
used to always dunk her biscuits in her buttermilk! Thanks for
letting me share!
Roz in Alice Springs, Australia (11/25/09)
I come from central Queensland in Australia. Actually I live in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory now
(in the middle of the Outback as we call it), but I originally come from Queensland.
My father used to boil raw peanuts in the shell in his corned beef water. His recipe is the one I use today.
After boiling and simmering the corned beef in water with a quarter cup of brown vinegar, a quarter cup of brown sugar, a
small handful each of peppercorns, pimento and mustard seeds, a few cloves and a couple of bay leaves, we remove the meat and
add the peanuts and cook for several hours. I don’t know if other Queenslanders boil them this way, but that’s how I grew up
with them. The salt in the corned beef means that you don’t need to add any extra to the water. I put a few handfuls of
peanuts into the water in a large pot, just enough for them to float.
Glad to see we are not the only boiled peanut lovers in the world. Don’t know where the idea came from in
Australia. Will have to do some research.
Bobby Blackwell (8/29/09)
I live in Columbia, South Carolina in the heart of SC. I grew up visiting the Capitol building. There was an elderly gentleman
who sat on the grounds selling peanuts both roasted and boiled in hand-sized bags. If I was going to eat them, I bought boiled
peanuts. If I was going to feed the squirrels and pigeons, I bought parched peanuts. If you wanted to walk a ways, you
could get peanuts from Cromer’s Store on Assembly Street. They are advertised, and still do, as “The worst peanuts in town!”
Everybody knew it was just the opposite.
For the last few years, I have found a man who cooks up some
wonderful peanuts at the local Barnyard Flea Market. But the best ones are between September and November when he gets
something he calls “Big Whites.” Every week they get bigger until he calls them Jumbos. These white peanuts are hands down
better than any red peanut that ever took root. But the Jumbos are unbelievable. When boiled, the shells stay light in color.
But when you pop them open, it is like butter. I just ate one that was 4-inches long and every nut was over ¾-inches long. A
handful of these babies is a meal, and they are the best tasting peanuts you ever ate. Several farmers in this area are beginning
to grow them but the supply still doesn’t keep up with demand.
These are some of the first to come in this season. Right now they are mixed in with smaller
finger size ones. They will all be this size and bigger and will get even better in a month or
so. That's a quarter.
A northern friend of mine years ago came to South Carolina and in the course of
events tasted boiled peanuts. He said, “It’s like eating
dirt!” When the Jumbos come in this same guy normally buys two
$10.00 bags (3/4 gal. each) every other week. They are that good. There are some calling my name right now.
Randy of Grayson, GA (7/25/09)
I've lived in Georgia 43 of my 45 years and almost all my family is here.
I grew up eating boiled peanuts in the summer. It was always a treat
when my dad would stop at a roadside stand, usually one selling
fresh fruits and veggies, and buy a couple of bags of boiled
I'd never tried to boil peanuts myself until recently. I hadn't had any
in several years and the urge finally overcame me. As I've not found
a local roadside stand, I decided to buy some raw peanuts at the
store and try boiling them myself. I followed your recipe and found
that apparently the peanuts I got were not real fresh, as it took 9
hours to boil them on the stove. Also, the recipe says to taste
occasionally for texture and salt content. I'd followed the recipe
and added a half cup of salt for 2 pounds of peanuts, however, after
several hours, I could not taste the salt at all, so I added a
little more. Then a couple hours later, still not tasting the salt,
I added a little more. Finally, after about 7 hours, when the
peanuts began to show signs of softening, they also began to absorb
the salt. When they were finally done enough for me, after 9 hours,
they were too salty, still edible, but too much salt for my taste.
So a warning to others: Follow the recipe and don't add any
additional salt until near the end of the cooking process, the
peanuts apparently don't really start to absorb the salt until near
the end. Thanks for a great recipe. This time I'll stick to it. I've
got some soaking now and am about to boil another batch to take to a
pool party tomorrow.
Julia Free Carter of Doerun, GA (7/03/09)
Freezing Boiled Peanuts:
I have peanuts boiling in
the kitchen now, bought fresh from the Farmers' Market in Cordele,
GA. They may be a little too dry to boil right, but I'm sure trying!
Boiled peanuts can be bought in cans in the grocery store, too. They
aren't as good as fresh by any means, but any port in a storm!
When my brother was in Viet
Nam, we routinely sent him care packages. The biggest hit with the
Southern boys in his unit were the canned boiled peanuts. After they ate
them all, they drank the brine.
I have to disagree with the
woman who said that boiled peanuts don't freeze well. In my experience,
they do perfectly well. I've pulled, picked off the vine, washed and
boiled a year's worth in one sitting and frozen them. My dear old Daddy
and I would open a bag during football season and enjoy the Atlanta
Falcons while we popped peanuts with our teeth and ate the soft
"poppers". Daddy hoarded them and didn't offer any to guests during the
winter, so I felt priviledged. :-)
Of course you don't put
boiled peanuts in an RC or any other cola! Yes, it's "r-ah see cola".
Ken of Live Oak, Florida (2/23/09)
Cooking Boiled Peants in a Pressure Cooker:
Put two cups of water in a pressure cooker full of green peanuts.
Add plenty of salt.
Bring pot to full pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
When finished release pressure with cold water on pot and enjoy. I usually fill the pot with water and
put on the stove to allow the salt to soak in. Fantastic!
Yolanda Klem (7/02/08):
Boiled peanuts started because they were thought that they had to be cooked like regular
beans, and they were not thought of as regular “nuts” from the tree. You
wouldn’t boil a walnut would you?
peanuts, you have to use a lot of salt (like 1 pound for every 4 pounds of
nuts) and lots of water.
Doris Pfalmer from Fairbanks, Alaska (6/21/08):
I was born in
North Carolina and move to South Carolina when my dad went overseas as a
Marine. We stayed on my Granny and Papa's farm. Granny had a peanut patch
across the little road, and she used to boil them up in big batches on her
old woodstove. We moved to California, where I was raised, and later moved
to Reno, then Alaska, where I now reside. About once a year, I go to the
bulk section of one our grocery stores and get a big bag of peanuts to boil,
and the taste is like taking a walk down memory lane, right back to the
farm. I share them with my friends, and they seem to either love them or
hate them. Our state fair has a booth that serves Cajun food, and they put
hot spices in their boiled peanuts.
Clyde Smith, Marianna, Florida (3/19/08)
I grew up
in South Mississippi and boiled peanuts were everywhere. Boiled peanuts
are not as easy to find now here in Florida even though our county
generally has about 30,000 acres of peanut. On drinking peanuts. In
South Mississippi a “snack” usually meant a Barq’s Root Beer with a
small bag of Tom’s roasted peanuts dumped in. Anything that tastes that
good has to be good for you.
Glenda Rutherford, Williamsport
I just happened onto this website and was
horrified to see you thought Southerners put boiled peanuts in their RC (we
always drank Coke). I'm with the other people who took you to task for this
little slip. Roasted, or parches peanuts are always used.
Dothan AL is the peanut capital and celebrates
every year with the National Peanut Festival. There are always plenty of
boiled peanuts as well as every dish imaginable made with peanuts. For those of you, like me who are far away
from the South, you can buy peanuts already boiled or ready to boil from
companies like Lee Brothers in SC.
Alan Widner, Huntsville, AL (1/31/08)
say it is a southern thing for the most part. I myself
like them a lot and for the most part eat a can every
day as I pack a can in my lunch box. I live in
Huntsville AL. and NO you do not put Boiled Peanuts in
Coke and or other soft drinks of any kind at any time.
Putting Boiled Peanuts in a soft drink is a BIG NO NO.
This is how it is with
peanuts and soft drinks:
First off you only put
peanuts in an R/C Cola and that Cola has to be in a bottle.
Never use boiled peanuts.
You need roasted and salted peanuts and the more salt the better.
The salt will cut the
sugar in the R/C and the acid in the R/C will start to soften the
peanuts making them softer than roasted but firmer than boiled.
Now let’s go way back to
lunch in the old South in a Cotton Mill Town. First off you go into the corner
store pick up an R/C then you grab a bag of roasted & salted peanuts when
you get to the counter you ask for 6 to 8 saltines (they not prepackaged)
and say I’ll take 2 slices of bologna about yea thick (hold up your fingers
to show the size) and 2 slices of HOOP CHEESE half as thick and you better
get me for one of these MOONPIES.
Now I am not saying all this
is carved in stone all over the world but it how it has been done were I
live for over 80 years.
Mark Rakes, Layton, Utah (12/30/07)
I was born in Charleston, South Carolina
and grew up in Brooksville, Florida. I currently live in Utah and so now
I have to make my own boiled peanuts instead of going to buy them. In
fact, I have some cooking right now as I write this. I've been making my
own for the past 10 years or so and have introduced quite a few
Utahans to them. Some don't like them, but most love them when they
Also, just for others information, you can
cook them inside on the stove, as I am doing, and they turn out just
fine. (It's snowing outside right now anyway.) As far as
how much salt to use, I usually use almost an entire one pound container
of salt for about 2 pounds of Raw Peanuts. As far as the water goes,
always check it every hour or so because you'll need to keep adding
water to it. I have to boil my peanuts for 8 to 10 hours, but that may
be because I'm at a higher altitude.
Shirley Taylor, Gallatin, TN (10/27/07)
Great reading! I too was looking for how much salt to put in my pot
to boil my green peanuts. My husband and I, originally from Northwest
Florida, were in Destin, Florida this past week and it was raining and
cold. Since we could not enjoy the beach, we decided to try and find
someone selling green peanuts to take back with us to Tennessee for a
A call to an extension agent, we were informed that they were still
digging them in Chipley, Florida. So, we took one day to drive there and
pick up 30 pounds of them. We put them in a cooler with ice and they
kept OK for the trip home to Tennessee. The next day after arriving
home, we took our propane turkey fryer out and used it to boil our
peanuts. We did half with just salt and the other half with tons of
cayenne pepper for "hot" ones. My son loves those!
Robert Petty of Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the history and recipe. I mostly needed the salt measure,
but was fun reading the rest. I rarely see the necessary green peanuts
for sale, but grab them when I do.
My daughter-in-law's family, from South Georgia, advises placing a plate on top of the boiling peanuts to keep
them more thoroughly immersed. We found that a china plate crazed and turned brown from the hours of heat, but that an aluminum foil pie plate
weighted with a small (scrubbed) rock will do the job. I might also add that two pounds of green peanuts fits nicely in an 8-quart roaster along with
half a gallon of water and half a cup of salt - even with the pie pan and rock on top of the boiling peanuts.
My father was a Nehi (Royal Crown Cola)
bottler and roasted peanuts inside an RC was a staple as was a Moon Pie
and an RC -- phonetically pronounced a drawn out "are row sea." Once,
one of my friends younger brother drank an RC left in the family
refrigerator for a field hand. When my friend discovered the
unintentional misappropriation, he went to the country store to replace
it. All the store had was the then new and unfamiliar RC bottle. The
field hand encountered the new-bottle and stated flatly that he was not
going to drink that with a, "That ain't no are row sea." The name Nehi was an alliteration of
knee high in contrast to the much smaller Coca-Cola bottle which I
believe was only 6 ounces compared to 10 ounce for an RC. I remember a
Nehi logo knife in the shape of an attractive female leg from high heel to knee.
(10/22/07) - Wow, did you ever
engender some family memories. E-mail below from my daughter in law to
whom I sent a copy of my email to you and next a discussion I had with
my nephew when I told him about your site:
so jealous that you have found green peanuts. The method granddaddy
used wasn't a plate or a tin pan, he used a top to a pot that was
just barely too small for the pot so that it would go down inside
the pot. He told me he used a lot of salt, no certain amount, and
that he'd put the peanuts in the salty water and put the "too small"
top on top of the peanuts. He had a really clean brick (that was
always in his kitchen (just like his other cooking utensils) that he
would put on top of the "too small" lid. We always drank ginger ale
with his peanuts, for some reason. He really cooked the best peanuts
I've ever had and probably ever will have. I was really sad when he
died that someone tossed his brick, probably having no idea what it
was. That was one of the only things I asked for. Well, now I'm
about to cry as I miss my granddaddy so much.
- Ellen Petty
My favorite nephew from Tifton, GA, unexpectedly came by our mountain lake
house and he and his family love boiled peanuts. It was serendipity that
I had boiled the peanuts the night before. We rocked on the porch, drank
beer, ate boiled peanuts, and reminisced. He and I remembered that
boiled peanuts were "biled." He now cooks green peanuts in a pressure
cooker. He had never heard the story of the origin of the name for Nehi.
We had fun remembering my father, his grandfather, all as a result of
boiled peanuts. A long-time (55 years) friend originally from Wachula,
FL, came over and we had boiled peanuts before dinner the night before.
Enough of all this, but a lot of fun was had by all as a result of my
finding green peanuts in the Kroger store in Jasper, GA, Googleing to
your site for how much salt to put in, and the resulting reminisces.
BTW, I had frozen some of the peanuts the night before my nephew came
by. It only took a little while for them to thaw when family arrived. No
necessity to heat or microwave.
Linda and Charlie Simpson of Charleston, SC (9/12/07)
I just read your boiled peanut history and recipe and wanted to comment on freezing
them. Most folks will agree that frozen boiled peanuts don’t last very long
before they get mealy and mushy. A better way to have boiled peanuts
year-round is to blanch green peanuts for about ten minutes in boiling
water, then freeze them. When you want some boiled peanuts, take them out of
the freezer and boil them just like they were fresh. I have successfully
kept peanuts a year this way and they boil-up just like fresh.
Michelle Long of Charleston, SC (8/13/07)
I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. If ya'll are ever in Charleston or
Summerville, South Carolina you must stop by Hucks' Produce on Folly
Road in James Island, Hucks' Produce on Hwy 78 in Ladson, or Poppy's
Peanuts on Hwy 78 in Summerville. These are, by far, the best boiled
peanuts you will ever taste. Believe me, in my forty years of living, I
know boiled peanuts. By the way, they serve them hot, really hot.
Al Morton of Georgia (8/13/07)
I just returned from my son's wedding on Sapelo Island, Georgia. The bride
is from St. Simons Island, GA, and insisted on boiled peanuts for the
wedding reception. Most guests were Southerners familiar with this treat
and really excited to see them there. Those who were not seemed to enjoy
them once they got over how "weird" they were. I found your website
while searching for a recipe; although I have lived in Georgia for over
35 years, I have never tried to boil peanuts myself; your recipe sounds
perfect! By the way, it was the coolest wedding ever!
Crystal of South Caroline (7/12/07)
I was born and raised in SC and love boiled peanuts. I
prefer them nice and freshly boiled. They are so
much better hot/warm. My mom and I were scouting for
people with hot boiled peanuts and were unable to
find any. I am sad to report a decrease in people
boiling them on the side of the road and keeping
them hot. Thanks for the history page
I just wanted to add my thoughts.
Deborah Due of Groveton, TX (7/07/07)
I just visited your site and was pleased to read the history and find the
recipe I was searching for. I grew up in East Texas and still live there.
We grew peanuts when I was a child and I really enjoyed getting to eat
boiled peanuts...I liked them better than parched peanuts.
I guess you could add Texas to your list in
the history because many people in East Texas used to boil their green
peanuts. My ancestors, third/fourth generation back, came from
Mississippi . . . maybe that's where the trend got started for my
family. There is a small town in East Texas that boasts as the peanut
capital of Texas - Grapeland, TX. They have a peanut festival each fall,
but most of what they sell is dried peanuts.
I was at a fresh farmer's market yesterday
in south Louisiana and found some green peanuts. My dad will really
enjoy these when I fix them for him and I might help him eat a few!
Kathy Brill of Jacksonville, FL (5/20/07)
I just read your history on the boiled (bald) peanuts and found it very
interesting. I was born and raised a Yankee from NJ and never heard of a
boiled peanut until I moved south and thought southerners were nuts for
doing such a thing to a delicious peanut.
I was at a Flea Market in Jacksonville, FL
with a friend who bought a bag of them and made me try one. I thought I was
going to be sick. I wasn't prepared for the texture or taste and spit it
out. Oddly enough, the next time I went to the flea market I found myself
buying a bad and couldn't believe I sat down and ate the whole thing. I've
been in Florida for 25 years now and make my own boiled peanuts and buy them
when ever I see a stand or am at the flea market. I'm totally addicted and
my 9 year old daughter has never had a regular peanut and can't imagine
northerners eating them without boiling them.
Thanks for the history and other reader
comments. It's a great web page.
Richard McCleskey of Asheville, NC
Alabama is the Peanut Capital. I'm originally from Alabama
and I have to agree that the best boiled peanuts come from fresh dug Green
Peanuts. I prefer peanuts that are a bit immature for they tend to be tender
and juicer when boiled. My mother use to drag me around with her back in the
60's and 70's and one of the places I had to go with her was to the beauty
shop. She would keep me pacified with a small bag of salted peanuts and a
bottle of Coca Cola.
Please do not forget the Peanut Man himself,
George Washington Carver, who convinced farmers to grow Peanuts and invented
over 300 products made from them while he was at Tuskegee Institute in
Alabama. For years farmers had been planting cotton season after season.
They were depleting the soil and actually producing less and less. Carver
also watched the destructive path the boll weevil made as it worked its way
through the South. He warned farmers that their cotton crops would disappear
and all that would remain would be famine and unusable soil. With crop
rotation Carver ushered in a new era in agriculture in the South. He
encouraged the farmers to plant sweet potatoes, peanuts, and soybeans to
help restore the soil. These crops were easy to grow and provided the much
needed nutrients for soil.
When the farmers did listen, they found themselves with a huge crop of
peanuts and no market for their crop. Farmers were mad at Carver. The story
goes that he locked himself in his laboratory and asked God why He made the
peanut. Days later he emerged with over 300 products that could be made from
the peanut plant. Years later Carver was asked to speak before Congress
about these discoveries and the usefulness of peanuts.
Ashley Sampson of Portland, OR (2/21/07)
I wanted to toss in my two cents. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon.
I love "bald" peanuts. Have all my life. It's hard to get them here in
Oregon. (thank goodness for UPS). My mom's from Georgia. I guess that's why
I was exposed to them and why I like them. It's a special treat when she or
her brother buy them for us for Christmas. I've always known canned, room
temperature boiled peanuts. Hot sounds nasty to me. If anyone has heard "I was
country when country wasn't cool," by Barbara Mandrel. She talks about
putting peanuts in her coke. I believe it would be dry roasted.
Although any kind sounds bad!
Scott Shaw of Asheville, NC (10/26/06)
After reading this article and the comments left by the other readers, I
have to agree with their comments. I was born and raised in South
Carolina - the boiled peanut capital of the country (regardless of what
Georgia says). I've never seen or heard of anyone ever putting a
boiled peanut in a soda. Children (and some adults) commonly dump a
pack of roasted, salted peanuts into their "Co-Cola", drink the slightly
salted beverage, then eat the peanuts out of the bottom. Of course, it
needs to be a BOTTLE of Coke. It's too hard to get the wet peanuts out
of the can!
Keith Murphy (8/07/06)
I was raised on a peanut-tobacco-corn farm
in south Georgia during the 1950's. No one ever put a boiled peanut in the
shell into his RC. You put the roasted, salted peanut (no shell) into your
"drank". I still do it a couple times a week (I prefer Mountain Dew or Sun
Drop over an RC.
Peanuts are harvested in south Georgia from
late August until the first of October, and any good Southerner knows that
the real good boiled peanut is one that was boiled "green", or fresh-dug
(peanuts grow underground), before it has time to dry.
We always boil up a large quantity of green
peanuts and freeze them. Only when we are completely desperate do we resort
to eating boiled peanuts that have been dried, and then soaked to regain
moisture. Most people exposed to boiled peanuts, are exposed to this type,
and never have the opportunity to try a green boiled peanut. Another thing,
is some of these roadside stands let these old peanuts sit around for days
in old brine, and the peanuts are really bad.
Eat your peanuts in August, September, and October. Other times, try to get
those that have been processed green and frozen that way, or canned. You can
find green boiled peanuts at Cooter Brown's Emporium on Owltown Road in
Fred Hatley of Scott AFB, IL (6/29/06)
I just read your history about boiled peanuts
on your web page. Interesting reading. I recently spent a few days in
upstate South Carolina where I was born and raised. The few times I have
returned, I "re-discover" many foods of my child hood and boiled peanuts is
one of those.
I returned to Illinois with several bags of commercial boiled peanuts and
got into a conversation or two with some "Yankees" about the origin. I was
surprised to see that they are now being bagged and canned for supermarket