When flight attendants pass out peanuts on the airplane I usually turn them down or give my bag to Stephen. If I get a box of Cracker Jacks, I eat the caramel popcorn and ditch the peanuts. And when Stephen buys a bag of peanuts at the ballpark he eats most of them…I’m just not a fan of peanuts. While exploring the inner coastal waterway this week Stephen and I spotted a road sign advertising boiled peanuts. We were curious about this iconic southern snack but honestly, I was more interested in the photo opportunity than actually eating the peanuts. The sign was at the edge of town as we drove into Amelia Island, a charming area north of Jacksonville.
The island is rich with history and quite picturesque with its antebellum architecture and grand estates. The entire town oozed southern charm and the boiled peanut sign moved the charm factor up a notch. We just had to pull off the road for a photo and maybe a small taste of this famous southern snack. I learned from Wikipedia that peanuts are harvested in the fall and while most farmers send out their peanuts for roasting others take a portion of the raw or “green” legumes and boil them in salt water. There is a specific window of time for eating fresh boiled peanuts and we hit the bullseye. As Stephen and I stepped from the car the woman behind the farm stand offered us a sample. She said with a thick southern drawl that her peanuts had been boiling for twelve hours and were ready to eat. With her handmade colander she dipped into the pot and strained out a dozen soggy brown peanuts with shells intact. She explained that boiled peanut etiquette requires that you suck the juice from the shell and then bite it open and dig out the peanuts with your teeth. The peanuts looked rather mushy but I was willing to give them a try. I bit open the shell and sucked out the hot briny liquid and just like that…I was hooked. They were delicious!! I loved the salty peanut flavored water while the first bite tasted like baked potatoes infused with butter. I cracked open several more shells and immediately devoured the little morsels of salty goodness. While Stephen wasn’t as enamored with the hot peanuts we agreed to buy a bag and I continued to shell and eat half the bag as we drove down the road.
I finished the bag for dinner and now I consider myself a boiled peanut convert. I think baseball parks and the airlines should offer both roasted and boiled. As for Cracker Jacks…I’m not sure it would be a good idea.
Here are some other things Stephen and I like about Florida:
-Key Lime pie from Publix grocery store
-Never having to put on a coat and shoes when taking the dog outside
-Beaches with beautiful scenery