Monday, June 20, 2011

The Official Snack of South Carolina

I'm a Carolina girl, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I love the landscape, the Gamecocks, and the coast of South Carolina.  And the food.  Lord have mercy, y'all, I love the food.  And where I'm from, we like to spread the love.  Let's get it started with some boiled peanuts.

Or "bald" peanuts if your accent is on the thick side.  Don't worry, peanuts don't have hair.

The boiled peanut is the ideal summer snack.  You can eat it at baseball games, on the beach, or on your back porch sippin' on some sweet tea.  The way I like to eat a boiled peanut is to crack it open with my teeth and suck out the brine.  I'm real ladylike.  Then, I can open the peanut with my fingers, and the glistening nuggets of happiness practically leap into my mouth.  It's almost a religious experience. Actually, you can open it with your fingers to begin with, but why miss the chance to suck down some salty peanut water?

It's not hard to boil peanuts, but the product can be an acquired taste.  My brother-in-law still hasn't acquired the taste.  Bless his heart, he's a Florida Yankee, so we forgive him.  Mostly.

You need:

  • Green peanuts- these are fresh-outta-the-ground peanuts.  Please don't try to use roasted peanuts.  You will be sorely disappointed.  
  • Plain ol' table salt- 1/4 cup of salt per pound of peanuts will give you a nice, salty nut without making you reach for the sweet tea immediately after.  
Rinse your peanuts thoroughly to clear out any debris.  On a side note, I like to say "der-bis" instead of debris thanks to an old lady we saw after a hurricane once.  "Can y'all believe how much der-bis is on the ground?!" Anyway, my peanuts were pretty clean, so I just gave them a nice rinse.

Fill up a pot with water and the peanuts, and add your salt.  I had a little over 2 lbs. of peanuts, so I used a little over 1/2 cup.  It's not an exact science.

Boil your peanuts for at least 3 hours.  When they've reached the texture you like, take the peanuts off the heat and let cool in the water.

I portioned my peanuts into sandwich bags.  I like to eat them warm when they're fresh but cold isn't bad either.  In fact, to store boiled peanuts you need to refrigerate them and eat within about 10 days.  You can also freeze them for the months they won't be available.  If you leave them out, though, they'll turn slimy.  Um, ew.  But if you eat them a pound at a time like I do, that's not really an issue.

Either way, enjoy this salty snack at least once this summer!

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