The Southern Road: How To Eat A Boiled Peanut

Boiled peanuts are one of those delicacies where you either love them, or you don’t. You can find them all over the south. They’re boiled because they are cooked in salted water, and are then kept warm in their juices in an electric casserole or crock pot.

I first encountered them in a gas station between Birmingham and Montgomery, and dipped up a cupful to try in private. I wound up with a mouthful of hull, which I spit out, and peanut, which I liked. But until I got to Georgiana, Alabama, I didn’t know I was doing it wrong.

I spotted the signs first: “boiled green peanuts.” Then I spotted The Peanut Hut. Venturing inside, I was offered a sample of boiled green peanuts – green, because they’ve just come out of the ground, where other boiled peanuts are made from dried peanuts. Green, I was assured, are superior.

I also received instructions. You don’t bite a peanut in the middle, and peel it, as I was doing. You take a peanut, and place it horizontally between your top front and bottom teeth. Give it a gentle bite. The hull ought to break open the long way, in two, revealing the peanuts inside.

Here’s a recipe for boiled peanuts and a little more history. They are an acquired taste. But now you know the right way to eat them.