Posted on 26 Mar 2015 23:52
As far as I'm concerned my home state of Mississippi should have the same state snack as South Carolina1, one near and dear to my heart: boiled peanuts. The correct pronunciation, in case you need to know, is "bald peanuts." South Carolina may not serve up more boiled peanuts than any other state, but you can get them, usually in plastic bags, just about anywhere in the state, including convenience stores, gas stations, and road-side stands.
South Carolina made boiled peanuts its official snack when the General Assembly voted in state ACT Number 270 on April 6, 2006.
South Carolina Act 270 Making Boiled Peanuts the Official Snack
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 1-1-682 SO AS TO DESIGNATE BOILED PEANUTS AS THE OFFICIAL STATE SNACK FOOD AND TO PROVIDE THAT SCHOOLS ARE NOT REQUIRED OR ENCOURAGED TO SERVE PEANUTS, ESPECIALLY TO STUDENTS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly finds that boiled peanuts are a delicious and popular snack food that are found both in stores and roadside stands across the State, and this unique snack food is defined as peanuts that are immersed in boiling water for at least one hour while still in the shell. The General Assembly further finds that this truly Southern delicacy is worthy of designation as the official state snack food.
Boiled peanuts, official state snack food
SECTION 2. Article 9, Chapter 1, Title 1 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 1-1-682. Boiled peanuts are the official state snack food. Nothing in this section requires or encourages any school district in this State to serve peanuts to students, especially students with food allergies."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 27th day of April, 2006.
Approved the 1st day of May, 2006.
Boiled peanuts really are a delicious delicacy. But for those who did not grow up on them, the whole idea is strange and people often find them off-putting. One confusing factor is the mistaken belief that you are supposed to eat the shell and all. Although there are peanut preparations that involve eating the shell, such as fried-in-the-shell peanuts, you eat only the soft but al dente salty peanuts, easily removed from the boiled shell. Not a lot of people know it, but boiled peanuts are also enjoyed in Asia. In fact, most of the world's peanuts are actually grown in India and China.
What Variety of Peanuts are Best for Boiling?
Green peanuts are best for boiling, but they are difficult to come by outside the south. Green peanuts can refer to immature peanuts, pulled early in the harvest season, but it also refers to raw peanuts that have not been dried. Most peanuts that are shipped all over the country have been dried to about 10% moisture. This allows them to hold up and not rot or grow mold during storage and transport. Green peanuts have not been dried, and retain all their moisture content, from 50 to 60%. They are not available past the peanut season and they are pretty much impossible to find outside their growing area. We could buy green peanuts at the grocery store in my home state of Mississippi, but if you do not live a peanut growing area, you probably won't find any. It is possible to get them shipped, however.
Many people erroneously state that you cannot boil "dry" raw peanuts. This is not true. If all you can get is dry raw peanuts, then you certainly can boil them. It just takes a lot longer. They will still be delicious.
As far the particular variety of peanuts, of the four major varieties of peanuts in the U.S., Virginia, Spanish, Valencia, and runners, most people would probably assume Virginia peanuts are the preferred variety for boiling, since they are so large and tasty. They also have very thick skins that are not conducive to boiling. It is usually agreed that Valencia peanuts are best for boiling. They have a small round oval shape with a red skin, and are the only peanut to have three or more peanuts per shell. Valencia peanuts are high maintenance and represent only 1 to 2% of all the peanuts grown in the U.S. Whatever variety of peanut is used, they should preferably immature and green.
Do You Bite the Shells of Boiled Peanuts?
There is no need to bite the shells of boiled peanuts to crack the shell open. The shells are very easy to crack open with your fingers. The only reason we bite the shells is to suck the salty juice out, and only dummies would say this is the only "correct" way to eat them, although it can save you from having the juice squirt all over when you do break into the shell. The correct way to eat boiled peanuts is any way you like. Is this making you want boiled peanuts, or just grossing you out?