The Amazing Peanut Part 2: Roasting Peanuts

whole and shelled peanuts on a wooden table

Americans love peanuts. There’s no denying it. Did you know that the average American eats more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter every year?  Amazing, right?  And peanuts, in one form or another, account for about two-thirds of all snacks consumed in the U.S.

But just because we Americans love the peanut is no reason to fall back on candy bars and peanut brittle.  No indeed.  There are wonderful peanut treats to be made in your own kitchen.

For instance, most nights, when I was growing up in Mississippi, my grandfather would roast peanuts after dinner.  He would put plain, unsalted peanuts, in the shell, in a large cast iron skillet and slide them into a 400 degree oven.  He’d stir them occasionally, while we went about the evening chores, singing hymns and talking over our day.

There was no set amount of time the peanuts had to roast. They were done when they were done — it was as arbitrary as a rainstorm.  But at some point (possibly when we had finished all our chores) he’d declare them done, set the skillet on the sideboard and take out the playing cards.

Let me tell you something about those peanuts — they were almost always burnt. They were burnt so often, in fact, that it became a family-wide joke. (And I’m talking about a lot of people. I have 30 cousins on my mom’s side alone.  We are Southern, after all.)

Nonetheless, we ate an awful lot of burnt peanuts and played an awful lot of Canasta.

The point is… eating burnt peanuts and playing Canasta is one of my favorite memories.  I still have to burn some peanuts every so often, just because it makes me happy. So if you’re going to eat peanuts, in whatever form you choose, create those treats at home.  Some day, your kids may look back and love your own unusual peanut traditions with as much fondness as I do my grandfather’s daily peanut roasting disaster.

Below are a few tasty, homemade peanut treats from around the web for you to try.

Chile Peanut and Pumpkin Seed Snack Mix

Peanut Chikki

Southern-Style Boiled Peanuts

Read about other ways to use peanuts here

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