Sunday, August 31, 2014

Boiled Peanuts - A Southern Tradition

We were driving along Highway 231 headed north toward Interstate 10 on the way home from a Panama City Beach visit  when we spotted "boiled peanuts" for sale along the side of the road.  There were several customers lined up to make their purchases.  I was reminded it has been a long time since I made boiled peanuts and it was time to put them on my "to do" list.

    Then this weekend while driving along the highway
we spotted two more folks selling boiled peanuts.

  Those watermelons looked good too.
You can't let the Summer go by without having delicious, refreshing watermelon.

And, they were selling other Summer vegetables and fruit as well.   These peaches looked so delicious.  We were told these peaches were recently picked in the Fort Valley, Georgia area which is known as the Peach Capital of Georgia .

Driving on up the road on the same day we spotted someone else selling boiled peanuts.  
This person was located just before the Georgia line.

Noted on the sign in the below photo,  Fulford Farms is in 
Monticello, Florida which is a few short miles South of the Georgia line.

August, September and October is peanut harvesting time here in the South.  With football season beginning, what a treat it is to boil some peanuts for a tasty snack for everyone to enjoy while watching the games.

The next day I headed out to our local grocery store with peanuts on my grocery list.  If you notice the top left corner of the label on the package in the below photo you will see where it says "green peanuts."  You can only successfully boil green peanuts.  

All of us are familiar with roasted peanuts like the kind they sell at ballgames.  But, don't be confused and pick up the roasted peanuts in the grocery store.  For delicious boiled peanuts they must be the "green peanuts."

Put the peanuts in a pot large enough to completely cover them with water.  The peanuts will float to the top, but when they begin to boil the water will boil over them.

Cooking Boiled Peanuts

It is hard to tell you how much salt to add.  I started out adding 1/4 cup to the pot in the above photo.  Let the peanuts boil for about an hour, open and taste one to see if you need more salt.  Add more salt if needed and continue to boil for about another hour or until the peanuts are soft and tasty and not crunchy.

When the peanuts began to boil over I realized I needed a deeper pot 
to give them plenty of boiling room.

It worked so much better with this deeper pot seen in the below photo.  This pot gave them a lot more boiling room.

They need to cook at a rolling boil for about two hours uncovered.   Just stir them now and then and if the water level gets too low add enough water to keep them covered.

Boiled peanuts are best when served right from the hot water into a serving bowl 
and eaten while they are still warm from cooking.

If you have leftover peanuts drain them 
because if you don't they will sit in that salt water and become way too salty to enjoy.

If you have leftover peanuts they should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent them from spoiling which they will if they sit out for a day or so.  When ready for another peanut snack take them from the refrigerator, heat them in the microwave for about a minute.  And, it is just that simple!

Probably the best information of all is the fact that boiled peanuts 
have four times the antioxidants of roasted peanuts.

I gathered a few interesting facts from Mr. Google:  Peanuts can be grown in hardiness zones 8 through 12.  The best outside temperatures for planting and cultivating peanuts is about 86 degrees Fahrenheit.   That is why they are so widely grown in the South including the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico,  with Georgia leading the way in having the largest amount of peanut crops.  However, peanuts are also grown in Russia, Asia, Africa, Australia, India, Spain and South America. 

It is thought that peanut plants were first introduced into the United States when the slaves brought plants with them from Africa.

Back in 1903 George Washington Carver who was a talented botanist saw the value of growing peanuts and rotating the peanut crops with cotton crops.  Farmers in the Southeast listened to his advice and became very successful.  George Washington Carver is considered the father of the peanut industry in the United States.

As you know, it is Labor Day weekend, a good time to boil some peanuts, sit back and enjoy a football game.  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday wherever you may be.

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