By: Shannon Shull
Hello, my name is Shannon and I am a boiled peanut addict. No kidding, I absolutely love boiled peanuts! They are the highlight of my summers. As Spring settles, I eagerly await the signs declaring that the peanut crops are ready, and the boiled peanuts are for sale. During the summer I crave them on a daily basis and could probably eat them daily if I kept them accessible. Every summer I tell myself I’m going to try to cut back on my boiled peanut habit, yet I can never resist them and end up with about five extra pounds of bloat from the high salt intake of the heavenly snack.
I’m very picky about my boiled peanuts. I prefer the lighter colored peanuts, not the dark ones. I like them juicy and soft. I wish I could say I’m eating some now as I’m typing this, but my supplier was all out of them when I last tried to get some. My favorite place to get them is at a fruit stand in Lexington at the big intersection of #1 and 378.
Since moving back to the South, it has been such a treat to finally have access to boiled peanuts again! Most of my friends in California had never even heard of boiled peanuts! Can you imagine!? All humans should experience the glory of eating boiled peanuts! I remember one of my girlfriends that grew up in Santa Barbara thinking I was calling them “bald” peanuts and was so confused as to what in the world a bald peanut was. One time, years ago while I still lived in Los Angeles, I missed boiled peanuts so much that I attempted to make some myself. It was an epic failure. I had no idea what I was doing and stupidly did zero research.
I went to the grocery store and bought a big ole bag of roasted peanuts. Yes, you read right, my dingbat self bought dry roasted peanuts. You’d think being from the South, I’d actually know that in order to make boiled peanuts, they have to be raw or “green” peanuts. Well, I proceeded to boil the heck out of those dry peanuts and ended up burning up the pot so badly that I had to just throw it away! I’ve only tried one other time to make boiled peanuts about two years ago. I actually bought the right kind of peanuts, got a ton of them, boiled up a huge pot, was so excited, then I dumped so much salt in the pot that you would’ve thought I’d boiled them in ocean water. They were horrible! Another epic failure. Maybe someday I’ll attempt to make my own, but for now I’m happy to pay someone else to prepare and supply me with my summer snack drug.
Boiling peanuts has actually been a folk cultural practice in the deep South since at least the 19th Century. After doing a little research, I discovered that they were originally called goober peas. Isn’t that funny!? Like okra, black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork barbecue, boiled peanuts are symbols of Southern culture and cuisine. The first recipe for boiled peanuts was published by Almeda Lambert in 1899. Boiled peanuts became a mainstream commodity in the lower South in the early 20th Century. A 1925 account from Orangeburg, South Carolina, (where it is believed that the sale of boiled peanuts may have begun) mentions boys hawking the food as a snack for five cents per bag. On May 1, 2006, Governor Mark Sanford signed a bill making boiled peanuts the official snack food of South Carolina.
And get this – in actually doing a little research, I discovered that the process of boiling peanuts also draws antioxidants from the shells. Boiled peanuts have four times the antioxidants of raw or roasted peanuts! So there you have it, now I can tell myself that my addiction to boiled peanuts is healthy for me! Ha!
Are you a boiled peanut lover too? Have you ever boiled your own peanuts? If so, please share your recipe with me! And let me know your favorite places to purchase the glorious summertime snack.