It's been a while since we've had a good I Wouldn't Eat it post, but I found the perfect candidate at a farmer's market a week or so ago. Boiled peanuts. In a can.
Boiled peanuts are a staple of Southern cuisine. The most classically correct way to eat these goobers is to drop one in a bottle of Royal Crown cola and drink it down along with the cola. Well, I didn't have any RC laying around, but I did have a serving suggestion on the side of the can - "Heat in brine from can".
So first, we know that the peanuts inside this can have been boiled. Second, we know they've been canned. Third, we know they've been sitting in brine. Fourth, they're described as GREEN peanuts. What's not to like? (Shudder.)
The pop top on the can suggests that for many, heating the peanuts is something optional. Once I pop the top, I see some sad looking wet peanuts, with a not altogether pleasant smell. They don't look green, just ordinarily brown. Science must advance and so, into the pot with the brine the contents of the can goes.
The nuts are hot by now, and I drain them. I'm left with damp peanuts in the shell. I take a bowl for the shells and a paper towel over to the table and prepare for an unpleasant experience.
The first nut. I usually eat about half my dry roasted peanuts in the shell with the shell still on. I try that here and the shell doesn't break crisply but wilts between my teeth before issuing the mildest crunch ever. The nut inside tastes like a salty peanut, but softer, more malleable. It's not unpleasant, but there's no way I'm swallowing this shell and nut mess like this. The strings would choke me. I spit it out.
The next nut, I crack open with my teeth (OK, pry open gently more than crack open). The nut inside is salty, soft, and flavorful. I continue. Not so bad. The peanuts themselves are definitely softer and moister than the dry roasted nuts I'm used to. Sometimes the nuts are almost mushy, which is disturbing, but overall, they're pretty tasty, and I don't get that dry nut dust cough that often accompanies a round of peanut eating.
So, basically, peanuts, salt - I guess I Would Eat It. What I'd worried would be a gross mushy mess turned out to be not bad at all. I don't get the same satisfaction of eating the shells that I do from dry roasted peanuts in the shell, but as their own thing, these were pretty good. I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to find these again, but I won't avoid them either. As for the green thing, it turns out that "green" in this context is a term used for freshly picked peanuts, and not for underripe actually green legumes. If I'd known that going in, I might not have been so apprehensive.
Good lord, am I becoming Southernized?
I will try to find a good recipe to make these fresh myself. Canning rarely does any favors for the flavor of food, so I'm sure that if I found this canned version of boiled peanuts acceptable that the fresh version might be quite tasty. If I find and try that recipe, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.