Monday, January 28, 2008

Parched Peanuts on a Frosty Winter Evening: A Tasty Hill Country Comfort Food

Fresh raw peanuts slowly parched have been enjoyed by generations of hill country folks in Mississippi. Usually an autumn and winter treat, parched peanuts have been enjoyed at such events as the school fall carnival, football games and area livestock sales, being sold packed in little brown paper bags.

During my childhood, most every farm raised peanuts and most every barn had a burlap sack hanging from a rafter filled with tasty raw dried peanuts.

I suspect most of the farmers around here raised the Spanish group of peanuts including Dixie Spanish and the Runner group including Valencia and Virginia Bunch. Most folks feel these types of peanuts have a good flavor, better roasting characteristics, and higher crop yields.

The true Valencia peanuts that are popular in the Deep South have a unique sweet flavor that makes these the best tasting peanuts for parching.

The true Valencia peanut production today is primarily in eastern New Mexico now, but they are grown on a small scale elsewhere in the South.

Parching good peanuts is a simple art. Over-parching can be disastrous giving the nut a bitter taste. Personally, I simply preheat my oven to around 500 degrees, spread the peanuts on a baking sheet, place the peanuts in the oven and simply turn the oven off letting the oven temperature completely cool down (usually about an hour or so).

There are several methods online for parching peanuts. Simply do a search on “parched peanuts.” Find a recipe, parch some peanuts and enjoy a simple old-time Southern favorite snack that has been enjoyed for generations!

No comments: