You can take the girl out of Bama…
But you can’t take the boiled peanuts away from the girl! Every time I go back to Montgomery to visit the friends and family, I have a few stops that need to be made. I need to buy a book at Capitol City Books in Old Cloverdale, buy a copy of Garden and Gun magazine at whatever southern airport I land in, eat a Chick-fil-a chicken biscuit sandwich. But the most important stop is to buy a bag of boiled peanuts from the guy selling them on Old Selma Road. It’s usually my first stop since he lives down the street from my grandmother. Every time I tear through a bag I remind myself to make some when I get home. The problem is that boiled peanuts are traditionally made with green peanuts, and I have no idea how to get my little paws on those. So while visiting Bama and purchasing my bag of gold last week, I asked the guy that makes him where he gets his. He informed me that he just uses the dehydrated ones you can find anywhere, since the green ones can mold so easily. So there. There was nothing stopping me. So I made some.
To be honest, I’m not totally sure the appeal of boiled peanuts transcends nostalgia. So far most every non-southerner I’ve forced them on has reacted either indifferent or confused as to why I like them. Supposedly they’re hip in Brooklyn right now, so maybe that means their popularity will make it to the West coast sometime next year. But I don’t have to wait, because now I can just do it myself!
And it is SO easy. All you need is time. And some peanuts of course. There’s no real magic to these guys, you just load your peanuts into a pot of salty water and boil away. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool before dipping your hand in for a bite.
1 lb peanuts (unshelled)
5 TBSP salt
– Rinse the peanuts to remove any dirt.
– Place in a large pot and cover with enough water to cover by an inch (you’ll need to press the nuts down to measure because they like to float). Add the salt. Cover and bring to a boil.
– Once boiling lower to a medium simmer and keep going for about four hours. You’ll want to check in every now and then to see if more water needs to be added. After four hours, taste one. The shell should be soft and pliable and the nut should taste strongly of the salty brine. If not, keep going until it does.
– Once finished boiling, turn off the heat and let the nuts sit in the brine at room temperature for a couple hours. Dig in and store whatever is left in the brine in the fridge. I’m not sure how long they COULD last, but if you’re from Alabama I doubt that will be an issue.