Boiled peanuts

Boiled peanuts

Boiled peanuts are popular in some places where peanuts are common. Fully mature peanuts do not make good quality boiled peanuts; rather raw or "green" ones are used. "Raw" denotes peanuts in a semi-mature state, having achieved full size, but not being fully dried, as would be needed for roasting or peanut butter use. After boiling they take on a strong salty taste and become softer with the length of cooking, somewhat resembling a pea or bean, to which they are related. The most flavorful peanuts for boiling are the Valencia type. These are preferred in the United States, being grown in gardens and small patches throughout the South. Green Virginia type peanuts are also sometimes used - these do have larger kernels, but the flavor is not as good.

Boiling peanuts has been a folk cultural practice in the south of the US since the 19th century, where they were originally called goober peas. In late August, when the peanut crops would come in, unsold and surplus peanuts would be prepared in a boiling, and extended families and neighbors would gather to share conversation and food. Like a fish fry, peanut boils have been organizing principles for social gatherings. Like okra, black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork barbecue, boiled peanuts are symbols of southern culture and cuisine.

Cooking

Raw peanuts in the shell are put in a large pot of very heavily salted water and boiled. This can be done inside on the stove or outside on a propane burner for a larger volume. Depending on the locality, some cooks use rock salt or standard table salt, or both. The boil can go on from four to seven hours or more, depending on quantity and the age of the peanut (green "raw" peanuts cook faster and tend to be better tasting), and the boilings will most often be of several gallons of water. Flavorings such as ham hocks, hot sauce, Cajun seasonings or beer can be added to the boil.

The resulting food is a very soft peanut in the shell, invariably quite salty. The softened peanuts are easy to open. Often small, immature peanuts (called "pops") are included, which have even softer shells and can be eaten in entirety. These tend to absorb more salt than the larger ones.

Uneaten peanuts should be stored in a refrigerator, as they can become slimy or moldy quite quickly without refrigeration. Boiled peanuts can be frozen, and later reheated in a microwave for out of season consumption.

Boiled peanuts can also be canned. Put boiled peanuts into canning jars, do not over fill. Cover with hot brine to 1/2 inch below rim of jar. Submerge containers to 1/2 their depth in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Install seals and rings while hot and process for 45 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Cool jars in water, date, and store in a cool, dry place.

Given high protein content and ease of storage, boiled peanuts are an excellent food for very hot weather and outdoor work.

International appreciation

*In India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Indonesia and Salvador, Bahia, boiled peanuts are eaten as street food.
*In the United States, boiled peanuts are occasionally abbreviated as "BP"'s, and are popular in southern coastal states. Often, they are sold in season in roadside concession stands, produce stands, at festivals, and in convenience stores.
*In China boiled peanuts accompany beer in the summertime.
*In Australia, especially Queensland, some consider them the State's unofficial snackfood.
*In Vietnam, boiled peanuts are called "Dau Phong" in the southern part of the country and called "Cu Lac" in the northern part of Vietnam. They are often appreciated by eating them at informal gatherings of friends and family while drinking beer poured over ice. [http://www.littlesaigoncookbook.com/newsletter.htm] "Tet Boiled Pinders" [http://www.southernfoodways.com/images/Gravy%2018%20Spring%202005.pdf]

Legislation

On May 1, 2006, Gov. Mark Sanford signed a bill, H.4585, making boiled peanuts the official snack food of South Carolina. [http://www.scstatehouse.net/cgi-bin/web_bh10.exe?bill1=4585&session=116]

Health Benefits

The process of boiling peanuts also draws antioxidants from the shells. The boiled peanuts have four times the antioxidants of raw or roasted peanuts. [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jafcau/2007/55/i22/html/jf071877l.html]

External links

* [http://www.peanutsusa.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.page&pid=12 About the US Peanut Industry]
* [http://www.clemson.edu/peanuts/Green%20peanut01.pdf Green peanut production (for boiled peanuts)]
* [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jafcau/2007/55/i22/html/jf071877l.html (Scientific study describing the health benefits of boiled peanuts.)


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