You know you’re in the South when you see someone sitting on a corner under a tree selling Boiled Peanuts out of a large propane kettle. They are a favorite roadside snack throughout the region. We have fields of peanuts planted all around our neighborhood, so my area is no exception.
A lot of people believe that peanuts grow in trees, like other nuts. In fact they grow under ground more like a potato. The difference is that a peanut is not a root. It is a seed. The plant itself only gets to be about knee high and so thick that you can barely distinguish the rows.
Yellow flowers, similar to a Pea flower (maybe that’s where the name came from?) grow up under the canopy of dark oval leaves. These self pollinating flowers only bloom briefly before spouting a “peg” which grows downward into the soil. This peg is what eventually forms the peanuts.
Fall is Peanut harvesting time. Large tractors plow the fields turning the roots to the sky.
After drying for a few days, they are loaded into large trailers and hauled to processors where they are made into Peanut Butter, Peanut Oil and snacks.
That is unless they get Boiled first!
Boiled Peanuts are not hard to make, but it is important to note that the fully matured peanuts that are sold for roasting do not make good candidates. Boiling Peanuts are green, immature nuts often referred to as “raw”.
To make them you will need:
Approximately 4 lbs of Peanuts
1 Gallon of water
3/4 cup Salt
Add everything to a large pot and bring to a slow boil.
Cook for about 3 hours or until tender. Cooking time can vary so check on them frequently. When they have reach the desired tenderness, drain and cool.
These freeze well in plastic baggies for year round enjoyment. However, unfrozen or thawed nuts need to be eaten quickly. They only have a shelf life of a couple days in the refrigerator. But that never seems to be a problem in my house!