Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Southern delicacy of boiled peanuts

Raw Green Peanuts soaking

Whenever there are peanuts in the house, my husband breaks into a jingle.  "Peanuts, Golden Wonder, “They’re Jungle Fresh! Golden Wonder, They’re Jungle Fresh."

We don’t have peanuts in the house frequently.  I don’t like peanuts in the barked at ball games manner of, Peanuts, get your, Peaaa-Nuts! way at all.

No sir.  I’m a boiled peanut lover.  It makes sense.  I’m from the south.  All of my life I could shell, pop, and drain (actually it's more of a slurping from the shell-- think crawdads) the “juice” out of a peanut.  Sometimes I would bite the shell and the juice would squirt all over before getting to the peanuts.

From my twitter account:

Raw peanuts to boil, fresh pickles to can &Fuji persimmons to ripen. (@ Valli) than a minute ago via foursquare

Still I’ve been meaning to post my recent peanut boiling exploits when I ran across this thread from Ellen Malloy’s trending topic over at Soapbox where the hot chefs weigh in with their even hotter nuts (hmmm, that sounds a bit racy but it is just nuts roasted in fat). 

When I was a kid one of my beloved aunties supplied me with boiled peanuts from the time I was a babe, until her death when I was in college.  One year, she took me out into the “country” to pick peanuts.  I could have died.  It was hot and I had on shorts, sandals, and a little midriff top.  I think I was all of eight.  While I bent down in the neat rows to pick peanuts, I was nearly eaten alive by bugs.  Yep, even then I needed DEET to be safe.  I probably picked fewer than 10 peanuts before caving in to the bugs and rushing for the safety of the indoors that hot day.  Still it was enough for Auntie Mary.  She never had me pick peanuts again.  She always supplied me with boiled peanuts.  It was one of the few foods that I didn’t tire of eating in large quantities.

The same is true today.  I think my husband joins me in eating them because of the sense of nostalgia and joy they give me.  I was right, he says they are mildly appealing, but the main reason he eats them is because I make them.

Classic Southern Boiled Peanuts

4-5 lbs of raw green peanuts

2 c. of salt, more to taste

Rinse in cool water raw peanuts.  Then fill a large bowl or sink with water and soak the peanuts for a bit.  (This is to get some of the travel off of these nuts).

Fill large stock pot with nuts, salt, and water.

Cook until tender, approximately two hours.  Keep in mind that the peanut is not a nut, but a legume, so think of cooking it the way you would a fresh bean.

Ahhh, Perfection-- Two Boiled Peanuts in the shell

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