If you happen to live outside the South, you likely haven't even heard of boiled peanuts, much less tasted them. But Southerners―from diamond-wearing dowagers to face-painted football fans―love this damp, salty snack with a passion.
Most of us purchase them to enjoy on the way to the beach or at sporting events, but boiled peanuts are very easy to make at home. The basics are water, peanuts, and lots of salt, but you can add other flavors such as ham and Cajun seasoning. Purists might disapprove, but these variations can be wonderfully tasty.
Even though peanuts are members of the bean family, we'd never seen a recipe that calls for boiled peanuts as an ingredient. So we were thrilled when we came across Boiled Peanut Hummus at a Georgia restaurant. Once you taste it, you'll thank the chef who created it for realizing that peanuts would be a delicious substitute for the traditional chickpeas. We think you'll agree that it really does take one of the South's favorite snacks to a whole new level.
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Hats Off to Hummus
We were delighted to discover this recipe for Boiled Peanut Hummus created by chef Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten in Athens, Georgia.
Fresh Vs. Dried
The best boiled peanuts are those made from raw or "green" peanuts, harvested June through September. Other times of year, you'll have to use dried (not roasted) peanuts. You can find dried peanuts in the produce section of the supermarket, or at farmers' markets. Dried peanuts take up to 10 hours to cook, while green may take only an hour and a half. Store uncooked green peanuts in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
"Taste of the South: Best Boiled Peanuts" is from the October 2007 issue of "Southern Living."