Skip to content

Parched peanuts

Did our lean grandparents and great-grandparents eat snacks? I believe they did. What those snacks were, no doubt, varied from region to region. Popcorn, I suspect, is an old commodity. Here in the American South, parched peanuts were a common snack.

I have a clear memory from the age of 6 or 7. I was in my grandmother’s kitchen on a cold day, probably early winter. There was a fire in the wood stove. On the wood stove was an iron skillet. In the skillet were peanuts, and my mother and grandmother were parching them. Normally, children would not be invited into the kitchen to watch whatever was happening on the stove. But parched peanuts, clearly, were seen as a treat for children. And I’d wager that my mother and grandmother had their own memories of seeing peanuts parched as children.

My grandfather was a farmer, with a remarkably self-sufficient farm in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. One of the annual crops was peanuts. These days, nobody in these parts that I’m aware of grows peanuts. But you can still buy raw peanuts in the shell at one of the grocery stores in Walnut Cove.

Peanuts are parched in a hot iron skillet that has not been oiled. Parching them is not equivalent to roasting them. Roasted peanuts have a uniform brown color. Parched peanuts are more brown on the outside and cream-colored on the inside. Though I suppose that, if one were patient and very careful, one could fully roast peanuts in an iron skillet.

Peanuts and popcorn, I believe, were social snacks. When peanuts and popcorn were made, enough was made for everybody in the house. I’m guessing that even snacking back then, like the sit-down big-table dinner, was a family affair.

Salted parched peanuts

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *