Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Understanding Boiled Peanuts

Reading this made me see why such things as boiled peanuts even exist, which I never understood at all until now. I had forgotten a basic fact. Peanuts are legumes.
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are not nuts. They are legumes, from the family Leguminosae, which includes lima beans, fava beans, soybeans, and most any bean you've ever eaten. A peanut freshly dug from the ground is as damp as a potato and has the aroma of freshly mown hay. Shell it and eat the seed kernels and you'll find a starchy, slightly sweet, grassy flavor like that of a raw lima bean or sweet pea. It's a taste of high summer, when the peanuts are harvested, and to us it seems logical -- and not unusual -- that you might want to boil them or steam them, the way most beans are boiled or steamed before they are eaten.

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