History of The Boiled Peanut

If you live in the south, then you know that Boil P-Nuts (Boiled Peanuts) is a true delicacy. Popular throughout the Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama, this dish dates back to the Civil War.  Boiled peanuts are nuts that are put into a vat of salt water and heated over a fire. The outer shell becomes soggy and releases flavor into the nut. They are a delicacy because boiled peanuts do not last very long only 3-4 days whereas it takes almost 90 days to grow the nut for it to be boiled. 

Peanuts became a replacement for protein as early as the Civil War. Union General William T. Sherman marched his troops through Georgia which caused much-needed food and supplies to be cut off from the Confederacy. The quickest and easiest way to feed the Confederate army was to supply them with peanuts. They salted them to help preserve and boiled them to kill off bacteria. This could be done by campfire where the troops were stationed. The boiled peanut was born. Confederate soldiers claimed that these peanuts would last up to 7 days. They even started using peanuts as a coffee substitute.

If you ask southerners how to eat their boiled peanuts today, they usually respond, “with a Coke!” In the early vending machine days, southerners were able to get a coke with some boiled peanuts. This is how the classic combination was born. Some prefer to put their peanuts into the coke while others enjoy the sweet and salty combination. Boiled peanuts and coke are found all along the south in convenient stores and road stops.

In 2006, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina signed into law H. 4584 which made boiled peanuts the official state snack food.


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