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All You Ever Wanted to Know About Boiled Peanuts


Recently, some of the Southern Humorists got into a discussion about one of their favorite southern snacks - boiled peanuts.

It all started with Ben Baker,who recently decided to take offense at just about everything. "I briefly considered taking offense to Asa, but I figured he had enough offense to go around, so I won't be taking any to him. If he needs some boiled peanuts, I'll be happy to take some of them to him, if he pays for the gas."

Asa Sparks, difficult to offend, responded: "There's nothing like a bag of hot boiled peanuts. I usually use gas for defense rather than offense."

All the talk about boiled peanuts made Barbara Madden, living up yonder in the Ozarks, hungry.

"Oh, how I miss boiled peanuts. Folks around here are clueless to what they are. One problem is they don't know how to say boiled. They make it two syllables instead of one."

"I know. You say potaTOE, I say potaTUH. Or, in my case, you say MissouREE, I say MissouRAH."

"Anyway, I say boiled as in a softened boled, but here they say boyelled."

"It's just too funny."

Linda Lightfoot pondered, "I know this may sound like a "blonde" question (read that: dingy) but how does one make boiled peanuts. I assume they must be in a raw, non-roasted state to do this. How long do you boil them? How do you tell if they're done? Do you boil them in the shell or out of the shell? I've always wanted to try boiled peanuts!"

Angela Gillaspie, quick on the draw with her recipe book, especially if it's a Southern food, said: "I have the recipe and answers to your questions here:"

Boiled peanuts are usually served as a snack, but they make a great substitute for dried cooked beans at any meal. They may be eaten hot, at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold, shelling as you eat them. They will keep in the refrigerator for several days, or they may be frozen.

Peanuts, raw (this ain't roasted, now)
Water & Salt

Wash raw peanuts thoroughly in cool water; then soak in clean cool water for about 30 minutes before cooking. Put peanuts in a saucepan and cover completely with water. Because the shells of some peanuts absorb more salt than others, it's best to begin with 1 tablespoon of salt for each 2 cups of peanuts; you can add more salt to taste later.

"You should know that there is definitely an art to making boiled peanuts. I've tried unsuccessfully several times, so I buy them when I'm back home and freeze them," responded Barbara.

"Some grocers carry the canned version, and they will do in a pinch, but I don't recommend eating them on a regular basis. On the other hand, the last time I was home, I tried a commercially "bagged" brand that was very good."

Mr. Dave offered to share his secret source, "There's an older gentleman selling boiled peanuts out of the back of his pick-up in my little town. He's there everyday, reading his Louis L'Amour book, drinking coffee and bourbon, and selling fresh boiled peanuts. They're the best in the world. It might be the bourbon."

Ben was sort of sorry he brought the whole thing up by now, "You will be glad to know I am not taking offense to boiled peanuts. Then again, maybe you are annoyed to know this. Or, maybe you don't really care. Which also offends me."

"Also, boiled peanuts must be green - i.e. fresh and not dried out, cured or roasted. You can do it with dried goobers, but the quality just ain't there."

Susan Reinhardt was eatin' up all the peanut talk. "Oh, I'm so happy I'm not the only one who loves boiled peanuts. When we go to the Redneck Riviera - Myrtle Beach - my husband gets so mad cause we stop the car not to Pee - but for boiled peanut shacks on the roadside."

"Is this a southern or a Georgia thang?" asked Sheila Moss. " I know y'all have a corner on the peanut market down there. but boiling stuff just seems unpatriotic or unconfederate, at least. How's about a good fried peanuts recipe, preferably deep fried?"

If you don't want to know, don't ask. Sure enough, there IS such a thing as fried peanuts - and backyard chef Ben Baker tells how to do it:

Peanuts may be served fried.

Take a gallon or so of peanuts. Shell 'em if they are not shelled.

Heat a gallon or so of peanut oil good & hot (don't ask me about temperatures - I am a man and cook fried peanuts with a fish cooker. When the roar of the gas is just right I know it).

Dump peanuts.
Wen the brown hue shifts slightly darker, the peanuts are done.
Salt if you like.
Gain weight.

And that, in a nutshell, is the Southern-fried story of boiled peanuts.

Copyright 2005 Southern Humorists
Boiled Peanuts Recipe by Angela Gillaspie
Fried Peanuts Recipe by Ben Baker
The rest of that stuff by the Southern Humorists

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Editor - Angela Gillaspie | Editor - Sheila Moss | Consulting Editor - Ben Baker | Moderator Mark Berryman
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