Southern snack: Hot, boiled peanuts

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 09:51 AM.

PANAMA CITY — Although I have passed numerous stands on the side of the road and seen the signs at local convenience stores, I never had a boiled peanut until this week.

“That’s bizarre. Are you not from here?” Sara White asked me Tuesday at the Farmish Market.

Since moving from Texas, I often have been curious, but apprehensive, about what I thought would be a slimy mess. Living so close to Dothan, Ala., the “peanut capital of the world,” for almost a decade now, I decided it was time to stop wondering and start tasting.

“Everybody from Texas thinks they’re awful,” Sara added as I waited for her to scoop out a batch of boiled peanuts from the large pot heating over the open flame.

Farmish Market sells 32-ounce cups of hot, boiled peanuts, regular or spicy, made the old-fashioned way. The smell, which I likened to boiled vegetables, was not what I expected.

“We live off boiled peanuts down here,” Sara said. “These are truly straight–up Southern made.”

She showed me how to squeeze the peanut shell along the seam, then break it apart — “you can use your fingers or your teeth,” she said before she sucked out the salty juice and ate the red skin peanuts. To my surprise, the boiled peanuts inside were in their recognizable form, not globs.

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