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Boiled peanuts

boiled peanuts, boiled peanuts recipe
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 in salt water 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


  • 1 Regional variations
    • 11 Southern United States
      • 111 History
      • 112 Preparation
      • 113 Cultural importance
    • 12 Africa
    • 13 Asia
    • 14 Central and South America
  • 2 Potential health benefits
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Regional variationsedit

Southern United Statesedit

Cajun boiled peanuts are sold in the hull and are boiled with a piquant spice mixture

Boiled peanuts are widely consumed and commercially available in an area of the Southern United States from southern Virginia, south to central Florida, as far north as Ohio and west to Mississippi1 The peanuts are sold in the hull and either boiled with only salt or with a piquant spice mixture such as Old Bay The latter are often called "Cajun boiled peanuts" in many recipes and recipe searches


Boiling peanuts has been a folk cultural practice in the Southern United States, where they were originally called goober peas, since at least the 19th century The practice of eating boiled peanuts was likely brought by slaves from Africa2:64 In July and 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, fried green tomatoes, black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork barbecue, boiled peanuts are symbols of Southern culture and cuisine

The first recipe for boiled peanuts was published by Almeda Lambert in 18992:64 Boiled peanuts became a mainstream commodity in the lower South in the early 20th century2:64 A 1925 account from Orangeburg, South Carolina, where author Andrew F Smith believes the sale of boiled peanuts may have begun mentions boys hawking the food as a snack for five cents per bag2:64 The snack was also canned for consumption out of season2:64


A boy preparing boiled peanuts in Helen, Georgia, c 1974

Raw peanuts and green peanuts are generally used for boiled peanuts A green peanut is a term to describe farm fresh harvested peanuts that have not been dehydrated They are available from grocery stores, food distributors and farmers markets, during the growing season "Raw" peanuts are also uncooked but have been dried/dehydrated and must be rehydrated before boiling usually in a bowl full of water overnight Once rehydrated, the raw peanuts are ready to be boiled3

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 or fire pit 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 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 An alternative method for dried raw mature peanuts is to re-hydrate them by soaking overnight in water, after which they can be cooked in the conventional manner

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 Some aficionados of the food prefer them cooked for a shorter period of time so that the nut is not quite so soft

Boiled peanuts can become slimy or moldy quite quickly without refrigeration Boiled peanuts can be frozen, and later reheated in a microwave or boiling water for out of season consumption Properly frozen, the flavor is well maintained for even several years

Boiled peanuts can also be canned, and are available commerciallycitation needed

Cultural importanceedit

On May 1, 2006, Governor Mark Sanford signed a bill, H4585, making boiled peanuts the official snack food of South Carolina4


In Ghana and Nigeria, boiled peanuts are eaten as street foodcitation needed They are also popular in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa, especially in Durban

Historically, the Bambara groundnut was eaten boiled much like a boiled peanut in much of Africa2:8 Following the introduction of peanuts to Africa in the 16th century, they largely displaced the Bambara groundnut in cuisine2:9


Boiled peanuts prepared in Japan, left; roasted peanuts, right

In China, peanuts are generally boiled with star anise and a little salt5

Boiled peanuts in Taiwan are called tǔdò 土豆, although this also refers to peanuts boiled without the hull such as those in peanut soup tǔdò tang 土豆湯 Boiled peanuts were traditionally sold in Taiwan by itinerant hawkers rather than in fixed markets or prepared in homes by boiling the peanuts in woks With itinerant hawkers increasingly rare in the country, boiled peanuts in the shell are now seldom consumed

In Vietnam, boiled peanuts are called đậu phọng luộc in the southern part of the country and called củ lạc 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

In India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, boiled peanuts are eaten as street foodcitation needed

Central and South Americaedit

Boiled peanuts have been eaten for centuries in South America2:64 In Salvador, Bahia, boiled peanuts are eaten as street foodcitation needed

Edward Long, in his 1774 History of Jamaica, notes the consumption of boiled peanuts on the island2:13 This practice was likely brought by slaves from Africa, where Long himself believed peanuts originated2:64, 13

Potential health benefitsedit

The process of boiling peanuts also draws antioxidants from the shells The boiled peanuts have four times the antioxidants of raw or roasted peanuts6 Boiled peanuts have also been studied as a potential way to treat people with peanut allergies since boiling peanuts denatures proteins that trigger allergic reactions In one study, boiled peanuts were given in increasing amounts to four patients over time Some, but not all, patients were able to start eating raw peanuts Use of boiled peanuts as a treatment method is not yet recommended 7unreliable medical source

See alsoedit

  • List of peanut dishes


  1. ^ Stradley, Linda "History of Boiled Peanuts" whatscookingamerica Retrieved 16 May 2012 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Andrew F Smith Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea The Food Series University of Illinois Press, 2002 ISBN 978-0-252-02553-2
  3. ^ Boiled Peanuts Questions and Answers at The Lee Bros Catalogue Retrieved 30 October 2011
  4. ^ Scstatehousenet Archived January 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Hair, Jaden "Chinese Boiled Peanuts Recipe" Steamy Kitchen Steamy Kitchen, Inc Retrieved 4 November 2014 
  6. ^ Yvonne Chukwumah et al "Changes in the Phytochemical Composition and Profile of Raw, Boiled, and Roasted Peanuts" Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55: 22 2007 pp 9266–9273 doi:101021/jf071877l Web Publication Date: 9 October 2007 Retrieved 30 October 2011 ISBN 978-0-252-02553-2
  7. ^ "Boiled Peanuts May Be the Key to Curing Peanut Allergies" Retrieved 31 January 2017 

External linksedit

  • About the US Peanut Industry
  • Commercial green peanut production for boiled peanuts
  • Growing peanuts in the garden for boiled peanuts
  • Seriously Asian: Chinese Boiled Peanuts with photos of Chinese boiled peanuts
  • 澎湖美食 Penghu Cuisine photos of Taiwanese boiled peanuts in Chinese

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