Most of us are aware of the ubiquitous salted peanuts or their extravagant cousins the come in the dry roated variety. Available globally in foil packs with a long shelf life they get opened for pre-dinner drinks, celebrations or just when unexpected gusets drop in.
Then there is the raw peanut in the shell (I grew up calling them monkey nuts), which for unknown reasons has become more likley to be in a bird feeder than a bowl. Perhaps the cracking of the shell, extracting the unflavoured, unsalted nuts are beyond the modern taste.
However my peanut experience reached a new high on a recent roadtrip through Alabama. The humble peanut was transformed for me.
Alabama formerly a great state of cotton now is the peanut champion of the world.
The local way to serve them is boiled. Fresh green peanuts in the shell.
Cooked more like beans with salt and water for 3 hours they take on an almost tea like flavour with tannin and subtle herbal grassy taste and just a tiny hint of sour.
Buck who is renowned for selling P-Nuts from his stand on the side of the Old Seale Highway in Pittsview, Al.
Buck does both traditional and cajun flavours and a scoop will cost you $3 or 2 scoops $5.
Are Bucks the best in Alabama? well plenty would say yes and he has the pages of his vistor book stapled to the wall of his little stall. Evidence that visitors have travelled from 52 countries and all 50 states just to taste his peants.
He will get you to try a few, take a few photos and let you in on his philosopical musings scrawled on boards on the wall.
If your passing grab a bag, split the shells and pop the soft P-nuts into your mouth. They are messy and definately not a snack to eat whilst your driving but even later when they have cooled down they are a fine accompanyment to a cold beer or a glass of wine.
If you have’t tried boiled peanuts before you must. If you have tried them, then go see Buck and see why people make the journey.