One GRITS Journey To Convert Beloved Southern Recipes to Paleo Approved, and Darn GOOD too!

This is my story of how I am striving to change my family's life, nutritionally, for the better. Here in the deep South Paleo is a foreign word. No one has heard of it, and gluten free is really almost as unheard of...
After reading Gary Taubes enlightning GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES I was determine to change! Armed with my own two hands, the internet (thank God for, and all those wonderful blogs and podcasts available now, I am beginning my journey.
Please feel free to join me as I try to adapt all of our Southern Favorites into Paleo Appropriate Scrumptiousness!!! (and all Gluten Free) I will try to post all of the good ones, and may even blog about some failures along the way.

18 March 2011

The Blessed Boiled PEANUT-new crop of course ya'll

Boiled Peanuts ( new crop of course) are one of those Southern foods that everyone else seems to frown at.... Maybe they are an acquired taste???? 

It is believed that boiled peanuts have been a southern institution since at least the Civil War (1861-1865).  And in case you hadn't heard, in the South we have a different Version of the Civil War..we are still not sure that we didn't win, and if we didn't we have a much different version of about everything related...
Try sitting in a SC public school system your whole life, I for real barely knew we lost that war... We learned all about our famous battles that we won, and all of the BAD stuff those Northern Aggressors did gosh darn it!!!!! This subject will get many a southerner hot under the collar- we are very protective of our South!!!! You can still find many reenactments of our great battles, grown men, dressed in Civil war gear duking it out on the battlefield- Southern style!- really you can-very often actually through out the South!!!!! 
Anyways... I digress... Back to the Boiled Peanut...

For me, I have so many childhood memories, all outside at some game or another..., sitting in the stands, sucking the "liquor" (the juice) out and then splitting the shell with my teeth,and eating those salty yummy peanuts before tossing the shell. We ate these outside so we can just toss the shell.

A good southern guy  or gal can usually do the deshelling and all in their mouth, and then just spit out the shell. If you get good at this you can work through a big bag of boiled peanuts pretty fast!!!!  
I have to say I never acquired that particular skill, had to use my fingers I am sad to say. Using your fingers makes for a messier time, but still very well worth it. I cannot remember I day that I was not in love with these suckers!

I think we can eat boiled peanuts in their season and be PALEO...
Here is why....
in order to make a  New crop boiled peanut one must first soak the peanut, then comes the boiling... These steps, the same ones used FOREVER here in the south, get rid of much of the anti-nutrient properties leaving us with just the GOOD STUFF!!!!
 FYI..."For lovers of boiled peanuts, there's some good news from the health front. A new study by a group of Huntsville researchers found that boiled peanuts bring out up to four times more chemicals that help protect against disease than raw, dry or oil-roasted nuts."-- this was printed in a newspaper in 2007.

So how does one make a boiled peanut???? I am putting a copy of a good recipe below. I have to confess to never making them myself....One of those great treats to pick up at a roadside stand for me.... Not sure if I want to make my own??? But I know people who have, and this is how it goes...
( I got the below recipe from this website)
 Different people use different methods. Judging from the many variations on recipes for boiled peanuts, there appears to be no wrong way to boil green peanuts. 
The important thing is the many tastings needed to determine when they are done. You must taste test the boiled peanuts for saltiness and firmness, as some people prefer soft nuts to firmer ones.

4 to 5 pounds green (raw) peanuts in shell*
4 to 6 quarts water
1 cup plain salt per gallon of water
Only use peanuts that are green (uncured). Do not attempt this recipe with roasted peanuts.
soaking peanutsWash unshelled peanuts thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear; then soak in cool, clean water for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.
In a large heavy pot, place soaked peanuts and cover completely with water. NOTE: Add enough water to cover the peanuts by 2 inches.
Add 1 cup of salt per gallon of water.
Cook, covered, on high heat for 4 to 7 hours.
Boil the peanuts for approximately 4 hours, stirring occasionally, and then taste.
Taste again in 10 minutes, both for salt and texture.
Keep cooking and tasting until the peanuts reach desired texture (when fully cooked, the texture of the peanut should be similar to that of a cooked dry pea or bean).
NOTE: The cooking time of boiled peanuts varies according to the maturity of the peanuts used and the variety of peanuts. The cooking time for a "freshly pulled" or green peanut is shorter than for a peanut that has been stored for a time.-- (I for one don't think they are worth eating really if they are not fresh "NEW CROP")
Remove from heat and drain peanuts after cooking or they will absorb salt and become over salted.
Peanuts may be eaten hot or at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold, shelling as you eat them. (I have to say I like them all ways!!!)
Freezing boiled peanuts:  Prepare peanuts as indicated above. Drain, allow to cool, and freeze in airtight containers. They keep indefinitely.

Canning Boiled Peanuts: 
Prepare peanuts and brine the same as for boiling for immediate use.
Pack peanuts into jars to within one-half inch of the top, using equal weights of peanuts and hot brine (212°F).
Partially submerge containers in upright position in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Seal while hot and process 45 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Cool containers in water, label, and store away from heat.
So if ya'll come across some fresh green peanuts in quantity- have at these, make a ton, share them, and then can some for later!!!!!
or if you are in the South and pass a stand selling Boiled Peanuts- give them a try!!!, But not before asking if they are New Crop. It makes a difference!!!

New Crop is available May through November usually... 

More history, if you are interested::
 ---One of the biggest concerns of the Confederate government was  how to feed the army. Peanuts were available, and used often by troops when food was scarce.. They were on the go always, so they came up with a method that would allow them to Boil over a campfire it seems.... What they were doing by boiling in salt, is an ancient preservation technique. It was discovered that these boiled peanuts would keep and not spoil in their kits for up to seven day. The salt works as a preservative, and the boiling kills impurities and bacteria. This produced a high protein ration that could be carried by the soldier.Salt was scarce during the Civil War,  and history doesn't tell us how the confederate soldiers had enough salt to use?? Maybe they used salt meat as it was a large part of the army ration???. --- 
--I love this history as it just shows again how so much of what is great in Southern cooking comes from the land we love, from hard times and figuring out how to make it through....

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