Georgia Boiled Peanuts

January 27th, 2008  |  Published in DIY Food Projects, Legumes, Veritable Vegetables, Weekend Projects  |  1 Comment

Raw Peanuts

Georgia Boiled Peanuts

~ 1 qt ‘green’ peanuts, in their shells *
1.5 T sea salt
10 c water + more as necessary
1 packet shrimp and crab boil seasoning mix (optional) (alternatively you can add a mixture of herbs like mustard seeds, cayenne, and bay leaves, or simply a sliced jalapeno for a little heat)

Rinse peanuts in cold water to remove any dirt and debris.

Combine peanuts, salt, water, and crab boil (if using) in a large heavy stock pot and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered for 3 hours or until peanuts reach desired done-ness (the texture should be similar to a cooked pea or lentil). Check the water level periodically and add more as necessary so the pan doesn’t scorch. Drain, peel, and enjoy!

* Green peanuts are freshly dug peanuts that have not been dried or roasted. They are often available at farmer’s markets, as well as Asian and other ethnic supermarkets

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Perhaps if I’d grown up in the South I would have heard of boiled peanuts sooner than my 27th year of existence. But alas, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where the boiled peanut seldom makes appearances. Raw peanuts too were a novelty to me until I started frequenting the Alemany Farmer’s Market in San Francisco, which I accredit with introducing me to all sorts of wild and wacky produce not readily available in a regular supermarket–buddha’s hand, cardoon, jerusalem artichokes, taro, meyer lemons, raw peanuts, and much more.

This morning at the farmer’s market I came upon a large card table covered with a loud yellow-checkered cloth and a two foot high mountain of raw peanuts (raw peanuts are often referred to as boiling peanuts or ‘green’ peanuts–due in no part to their actual brown color). I could tell these peanuts had been freshly dug from the ground, as little clumps of still moist dirt clung to the hairs and fibers emanating from the peanuts shells. I had seen green peanuts before at the Farmer’s Market many times, but I’d always reluctantly passed them by, having absolutely no idea what to do with them.

Today, a group of little old ladies was standing around the table, gingerly grabbing handful after handful of the peanuts like it was going out of style. For some reason that I can’t figure out, this was enough motivation for me to go for it and try green peanuts today. I grabbed a few good handfuls, paid my $1.65, and wandered off into the market wondering what in the world I was going to do with my purchase.

When I got home I did a little research and settled on ‘Georgia Boiled Peanuts’ — one, because I have very fond memories of Macon, Georgia; two, because a simple, slightly salty snack sounds scrumptious; and three, because there really weren’t any other suggestions as to what to do with raw peanuts! If you know of any good preparations, I’d love to hear about it!

The preparation couldn’t be simpler: wash peanuts, combine ingredients in a big pot, boil, wait.

When the peanuts were done simmering I peeled one and popped the nut into my mouth, not knowing what to expect. It was… a little funky — the texture was similar to a cooked bean or lentil. The taste was great though, slightly salty, but not overly (like regular roasted shell-on peanuts), with the earthy peanut taste I was hoping for. I peeled a second one and popped it into my mouth, and I could tell the taste was growing on me. I peeled a third and a fourth and a fifth, and before I knew it I had eaten about twenty! Be careful–they are addictive!

Peanut Shells

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