“Peas, peas, peas, peas, eatin’ goober peas,
Goodness how delicious, eatin’ goober peas.”
[Confederate Civil War Song--Eating Goober Peas]
This blog is in honor of our character Grayson “Gray” Trent, whose nickname at Stanford was Goober.
Long before George Washington Carver discovered a thousand uses for the peanut, it was a staple of Southern food. During the Civil War (or as we sometimes call it, the War Against Northern Aggression), when other food became scarce, Southerners used ground peanuts mixed with chicory instead of coffee or ate them in place of beans.
Those of you used to roast peanuts at the ballpark or peanuts fried in oil in a can may not have heard of traditional Southern peanuts boiled in brine. I was introduced to them by a co-worker when I lived in Los Angeles, but didn’t learn how they were made until recently.
My first batch turned out way too salty for me, so I’ve adjusted the recipe, but the longer the peanuts boil, the saltier they become regardless of recipe. I use a crock pot, but I’ve given alternate instructions for a stock pot.
Alyssa Lyons’ Southern Boiled Peanuts
32-40 oz. green (meaning raw) peanuts in the shell
½ cup kosher salt (the kind used for sprinkling on pretzels or crackers)
1. In a large stock pot or a large crock pot, pour ½ cup kosher salt (fine ground salt doesn’t work as well).
2. Rinse the green peanuts in the shell in a colander and put in the pot on top of the salt.
3. Pour water into the pot until it is full to the brim. Green peanuts in the shell will float at first.
4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil or set the crock pot to High.
5. Boil on the stove for three to four hours, or overnight in the crock pot. Every hour or so, use a slotted spoon to bring the bottommost peanuts to the top and let the upper ones drop. After the peanut shells become saturated they will sink.
6. Drain the peanuts and store in the refrigerator. Finished peanut meats will be the consistency of steamed fresh peas or edamame beans. They will keep in the fridge for a week or so, provided they last that long.
7. Shell and eat. Be sure to have a napkin or paper towels with you because there will be brine trapped inside the shells and you will get wet.
I like my boiled peanuts right as they come from the shell in just a salt brine. Some of us Southerners add Old Bay or Cajun seasoning or anise seed to the salt. As for eating them, a favorite among many is to throw their shelled boiled peanuts in a glass of Coca Cola, which is how my husband likes them.
All you need is a palmetto fan, a rocking chair or front porch swing and a pot to toss the shells and you are ready for settin’ on the front porch of a summer eve, and sharin’ some juicy gossip while you munch on good ol’ Southern boiled goobers. Enjoy!