If you are driving in Georgia and see a “Boiled Peanuts” sign by the side of the road, by all means, pull over. Peanuts are one of the top products of the Peachtree state, along with peaches and pecans.
Georgia produces a little over half of the peanuts in the country, with 1.7 million tons harvested in 2015. Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern specialties that are little known outside the region. Soft, salty and utterly addictive, this delicious snack is easy to make at home if you have a few hours. Be sure to use raw peanuts, not roasted, and keep a watch on them as the water will evaporate quickly at high heat.
Who is the most famous American presidential peanut farmer? Why, Jimmy Carter of course. Check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. This museum and research institute houses 40,000,000 pages, 1,000,000 photographs, 2,200,000 feet of film, and 2,500 hours of video.
- 2 pound raw peanuts, in the shell
- 6 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 gallons water
In a large bowl, let peanuts soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain. In a large pot, bring peanuts, 3 gallons of water and salt to boil. Let boil for two to three hours or until peanuts reach desired consistency. If a very soft consistency desired, and more cooking time is needed, add more water if necessary. Drain and let cool before serving.
America has had a love affair with the peanut for nearly 250 years but you can thank WWII and its accompanying meat shortage for making peanut butter a household staple.
Georgia is the country’s top producer of peanuts. Along with peaches, which we talked about here, and pecans, peanuts make up the three Big Ps in the Peachtree State. At 1.7 million tons in 2012, Georgia produced half the peanuts in the country. George Washington Carver is considered the father of the peanut. This brilliant botanist discovered over 300 uses for the little legume. And don’t forget about Jimmy Carter, the country’s 39th president. He hailed from Plains, Ga. and took over his family’s peanut farm before embarking on a political career.
If you like peanut brittle as much as we do, you’ll love this super easy and quick microwave recipe. The addition of baking soda makes the candy more chewy than crunchy. We used cayenne and cinnamon to add some pizazz, just leave them out if you don’t like it spicy.
The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, May 28-31, 2015, features the best of the South’s food and drink and highlights the agricultural products of the region.
Kicked Up Peanut Brittle
- 1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the peanuts with the cayenne pepper and cinnamon until the peanuts are coated. Set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, add sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for approx. 3 minutes. Add nut mixture and microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until the mixture turns a light copper color. Add coconut oil or butter and vanilla and stir. Add baking powder, taking care as the candy will foam up. Stir to incorporate. Spread out onto baking sheet and spread as thin as possible with a spatula sprayed with cooking spray. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.
Georgia is a state chock-full of agricultural “P’s” – pecans, peanuts, poultry and its official state fruit, the beloved peach. It may surprise you that the peach received this designation only as recently as 1995 – even though its history in the state dates back to the 1500s, when Franciscan monks who had first planted peach trees in Florida brought them north to what is today coastal Georgia. We’re glad
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