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DEEP-SOUTH BOILED PEANUTS

Posted By: Shirley
Date: Monday, June 22, 2009 at 3:38 a.m.

Deep-South Boiled Peanuts Recipe

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.

4 to 5 pounds green (raw) peanuts in shell
4 to 6 quarts water
1 cup plain salt

Wash unshelled peanuts thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear; then soak in cool, clean water for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.

In a large pot, place soaked peanuts and cover completely with water. Add 1 cup of salt per gallon of water. Cook, covered, on high heat for 4 to 7 hours.

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.

Boil the peanuts for about 4 hours, then taste. Taste again i 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).

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.

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 jars to within one-half inch of the top, using equal weights of peanuts and hot brine (212F). 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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sitting by the roadside on a summer day, Chatting with my messmates, passing time away,
Lying in the shadow underneath the trees, Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!
Peas! Peas! Peas! Peas! Eating goober peas! Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas!

- from the song "Goober Peas" - written in 1866 with words by A. Pindar and music by P. Nutt

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 smelly!

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.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2006 - 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 offical state snack food.

~Shirley

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