Boiled Peanuts

Peanuts came into season in North Carolina at the end of July, and there will be a steady fresh supply through November. You know what that means! Boiled peanuts!

I’m a sucker for boiled peanuts. Always have been. Mama used to buy them for me when I was little. She got them fresh when she could, but other times she bought them canned from the grocery store. I was happy either way.

Daddy liked them too. He used to stop at little stands in Swain County for them or make pit stops at the convenience stores that carried them in Canton.

Other than Belle, I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t like boiled peanuts. They’re considered a delicacy here in the South – and have been for a long time. 

They became well known in the Civil War when Confederate soldiers carried them around as part of their rations. After that, those in Southern society began serving them at weddings and parties. From there, the popularity of boiled peanuts spread across the region.

But the Southern snack goes back much further. Peanuts are a South American legume. The Spanish brought the peanut plant to Africa in the early 1500s. Groundnuts became a staple in the African diet. The legume made its way to North America aboard slave ships two hundred years later.

African-Americans likely invented the boiled peanuts we know and love today. They were boiling peanuts long before the Civil War. And bless them for it! The South just wouldn’t be the same without this signature snack.

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