“Worst Peanuts in Town”

I wrote about them in my book “Flies on the Butter” and have been a patron of Cromer’s “Worst Peanuts in Town” for as long as I can remember. Boiled peanuts are as deep in southern heritage as the sweet tea article I wrote last week.


 I had a friend who lives in Maryland who thought you were supposed to pop the entire shell in your mouth when she had her first boiled peanut, only to provide a mouth full of growing shell and a rather comical experience for those who got to watch her trying to figure out how to get that down. Needless to say, I’m not sure she has added boiled peanuts to her culinary delights.

 My earliest childhood memories include boiled peanuts, and honestly one of the best places to find them is on the back roads of South Carolina or Georgia in old country stores, packed in little brown bags in the fridge. They just don’t get any better than that.

 But boiled peanuts are that comfort kind of food that brings to mind the sweetest things of your past. So here are a few things you might not know about the southern delight.

  1. They arrived in the Low Country (Charleston) sometime in the 18th century via slave ships. Having made their way from South America-to Portuguese-to Africa around 1500.
  2. They were originally called ground-nuts, ground peas, and goobers.
  3. By 1903 They began popping up in the Society pages of the South Carolina newspapers.
  4. Fashionable during that season to serve at weddings and parties in the smaller cities that dotted the South Carolina countryside.
  5. By 1913 they arrived in Macon, GA.
  6. By 1918 they had arrived in Tampa, FL
  7. In 2006 the South Carolina State Legislature (Yep, those folks must stay hungry) declared them South Carolina’s official snack food.  www.charlestoncitypaper.com

 So, question for you. Have you ever had them? Do you remember the first time you did? Do you like them cold or hot? If you haven’t, when are you going to buck up and try em!

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A southern girl who loves her family, friends and SEC football. I'm crazy about Jesus, Coca-Cola, Mr. Jones, and my bonus-kids. And I write a few books.

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  1. says

    My husband and I tried boiled peanuts when they came through our grocery store about five years back. I was not impressed either, but I thought that you could at least munch on the shell. Learn the hard way, I guess. 😉

  2. Lisa Wingate says

    I love me some boiled peanuts! Always watching for the crockpot when I go in a little country store. As long as they’re not over-boiled, they’re a treat.

    I’m with Amy. Now I’m hungry. Yum!

  3. Susan Roberts says

    Never had them but plan to give them a try the next time I see them after reading your article!

  4. says

    I’m the Pacific Northwest transplant of the bunch….and being good southern tourists, my husband and I took our motorhome on a long drive through the south shortly after moving to Texas. We bought Elvis bobble heads in Memphis and ate chitlins and boiled peanuts in Alabama…..then moved on to oysters and jambalaya in New Orleans. I miss my mountains…..but no one beats the south for making a mouth happy!

  5. Melanie Backus says

    I am afraid this gal from Texas didn’t care for them but maybe I need to give them another. We bought them from a little roadside stand in Georgia, hot !

  6. Dee Dee Parker says

    I’ve been eating them for several weeks now. As soon as the weather gets hot I start craving them. My family would stroll the streets of Augusta Ga. where vendor wagons sold them in the little brown bags. Yum! I agree that the country stores have the best. In the winter I will resort to the one sold in grocery store cans.

  7. Velma Hunsucker says

    This Georgia girl loves boiled peanuts. My favorite way to eat them is fresh out of a steaming boiler at a roadside produce stand. You have to slurp the juice when you open them. I’ll also eat them cold though. My absolute favorite place to get boiled peanuts is at Fred’s Famous Peanuts in Helen, Georgia. Yummy! I’ve heard boiled peanuts called the caviar of the south. They are NOT good in a can from the grocery store. Mercy, now I’m craving some hot boiled peanuts!!!!

  8. Dalene Wilkinson says

    I am from Michigan and have never tried them. We spend our winters in Orange Beach, AL. We have often wondered about them and how they would taste. I’m glad for the warning about the shells. I didn’t even know the shells were included. :) When we go down next winter, I am going to make sure we try them…..once or twice. Can’t wait to try them. :)

  9. says

    Love ’em hot! Love ’em cold! Friends of mine, when I was in high school, moved to our little Southern community from up north. Neighbors, being neighborly, took some boiled peanuts over as a welcome to the South gift. The new folks didn’t know what a boiled peanut was … and they put them outside in the sunshine to “dry them up.”

    True story!

  10. NanN says

    … I’m a “planted” NorthWestern-er, who once a year, gets to hop into our pick-up to pull our small trailer to anywhere we decide to be “along-the-way” to see kids in Oklahoma. Last year on our back-roads travel to Lake Guntersville SP in Alabama, we pulled off into a small Boiled Peanut Kiosk for our first time try. This sweet little lady spooned ’em out of her steaming crock-pot into a large foam cup (we had a mix of Cajun and Plain). Then we just bumped on down the road with me, lap draped in plastic bag/peanut-cup balanced between my knees/napkins everywhere, shelling and feeding us both.
    … It was a messy ‘n delicious delight! I’m trying to imagine them cold, but maybe that’s just another stop for another trip!

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