Monday, October 24, 2005

Boiled what?

While in Georgia this past Friday, I headed north from Atlanta, up I-85 toward Clarkesville. There is a place on a hill called Jaemor Farm Market, that sneaks up on you with no prior warning. I had been looking for it all the way up the highway, not remembering exactly where it was.

Last year, Bradzilla and I were on a video shoot and he made me turn around and go back to this location for some boiled Jawja peanuts. I shuddered, thinking, "Ick." To my delight, they were delicious and I couldn't wait to get some more!

Well, as fate would have it, I passed it up, but immediately knew I had and made the next U-turn to get back to the location. I pulled up the hill, parked and saw the sign: BOILED PEANUTS $2.50 PER QUART. SEE CASHIER. I waited my turn and then paid my $2.50 and the cashier goes over to a 55-gallon drum of boiling water, dips in a sieve on the end of a pole and deposits the booty into a sack with a plastic liner. He hands it to me and I watch the steam rising from the bag as I take it.

When I got back into the car, I realized I had a problem. Bradzilla was no where in sight to peel them open for me as I drove. Besides that, they were boiling hot, for God's sake.

I waited a few minutes and stuck my hand into the steaming bag, while driving up I-85. I dropped the first one back into the bag. Too damn hot to handle, so I waited a few more minutes. I could stand it no more and grabbed one from the steaming sack in the passenger seat. I deftly placed it on the air conditioning vent which I had tilted up as far as it would go. Then I placed five more on that vent, and started filling up the spaces on the adjacent vent.

With 10 peanuts cooling, I picked up the first one, split it, and popped those delicious boiled peanuts into my mouth. Wow! What a great taste. I blew through the remaining 9 peanuts and repeated the process.

If those Jawja bloggers come to Austin next Spring, I will personally boil them some peanuts! Now if I only had a recipe!

Delicious, just delicious. I ate the entire bag and only burned my fingers once.

I found a couple of recipes that I will be testing. I can't wait!

1. Wash raw peanuts thoroughly in cool water; then soak in clean cool water for about 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Put peanuts in a saucepan and cover completely with water. Because the shells of some peanuts absorb more salt than others, it's best to begin with 1 tablespoon of salt for each 2 cups of peanuts; you can add more salt to taste later.
3. The cooking period for boiled peanuts varies according to the maturity of the peanuts used and the variety of peanut. The cooking time for a "freshly pulled" green peanut is shorter than for a peanut which has been stored for a time.
4. When fully cooked, the texture of the peanut should be similar to that of a cooked dry pea or bean. Boil the peanuts for about 35 minutes, then taste. If they are not salted enough, add more salt. Taste again in 10 minutes, both for salt content and to see if the peanuts are fully cooked. If not ready, continue tasting every 5 minutes until they have a satisfactory texture.

5. Drain peanuts after cooking or they will continue to absorb salt and become oversalted.

6. Boiled peanuts are usually served as a snack, but they make a great substitute for dried cooked beans at any meal. They may be eaten hot, at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold, shelling as you eat them. They will keep in the refrigerator for several days, or they may be frozen.

This recipe is even easier, although I could not, in good conscience, wait this long.

• 1-1/2 quarts green uncooked peanuts
• 1/2 cup salt*
• 2-1/2 quarts water
Wash peanuts until water runs clear. Put nuts in crockpot. Add salt and water. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 7 hours. If necessary, add additional water to keep peanuts covered.
*The peanuts will get saltier the longer they sit in their cooking liquid.