In the photo, my friends, is a mess of boiled peanuts. If you grew up in the Carolinas or Georgia, you probably have a taste for these soft wet goodies. And if you’ve never eaten a boiled peanut, just don’t scoff till you’ve tried it. (Then you’ll likely scoff, but a few northern-born brave souls actually acquire a taste them.)
Boiled peanuts are just what they sound like: raw peanuts that have been boiled in salt water. Boiled and boiled and boiled; at home it takes at least three hours, and for some reason they stink up the house something terrible. So your best bet is to stop at a roadside stand somewhere in the Carolinas and buy a bag fresh out of a huge boiling pot. You can eat them hot or cold.
What boiled peanuts don’t taste like is any kind of nut. They’re more like a firm black-eyed pea in taste and texture. I like to keep a bag in the refrigerator and eat them cold for breakfast or a late afternoon snack.
How to Eat a Boiled Peanut: First, you shell it, just like any other peanut. But because they’ve been cooked in water, you might get a little gush of brine, so it’s best not to eat them in the car. You just peel and eat, no sauces or condiments needed.
Now if you get a boiled peanut and it feels slimy, that would be your BAD boiled peanut. It’s probably safe to eat, but slimy usually means it’s not fresh.
Boiled peanuts are mostly a summer treat, when the peanuts are fresh from the fields. But if you need a fix (or just really really want to try something new), you can order yourself a bucket from the fabulous Lee Bros. in Charleston. They’ve got a whole catalog of boiled peanuts and other Southern comfort foods, and they’ve written a mighty fine cookbook as well.