why are peanuts called goober peas

Peanuts are also called goobers, goober peas, groundnuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts, and grass nuts. Henry Bartham in 1794 noted, "I have often eat of them plentifully, and with pleasure. Since many Southerners of a certain age call peanuts "goobers" it was only a matter of time until someone started referring to Georgia as The Goober State. peas! "Shunned by southern aristocrats and the northern elite in antebellum America, peanuts were originally considered ungenteel and only fit for slaves and the poor to eat. The word goober comes from the Congo word "nguba" and gives us a clue about the peanuts' African heritage. The practice of boiling peanuts didn't cross over to white cooks for several generations. Peanut, (Arachis hypogaea), also called groundnut, earthnut, or goober, legume of the pea family (Fabaceae), grown for its edible seeds. Unlike fried green tomatoes or pimento cheese, though, boiled peanuts have been a Southern staple for a very long time—all the way back to the colonial era. The legume, the Jackson Clarion of Mississippi reported in 1866, "was much sought for during the war by the soldiers from that region, called 'goober-grabblers.' Observations and opinions on current events in the world, in politics, in popular culture, in my region of the country, in my little state, in my community, and in my life. They were undoubtedly incorporated into soup and stews, too—common usage in West Africa—though I've been unable to find any descriptions of such dishes in the South during the Colonial Era. In 1903, George Washington Carver began his research on peanuts and discovered more than 300 uses for them, including shoe polish and shaving cream. And—if they're made right, at least—they're really salty, and not just on the outside like roasted peanuts, but steeped in salinity all the way through. "Goober Peas" (pronunciation) is a traditional folk song probably originating in the Southern United States. "So that's Daisy. By 1870, more than a half million bushels were grown, over 300,000 of which came from the rising peanut center surrounding Norfolk, Virginia, and virtually all of them were roasted for snacks or pressed for oil. In September of 1925, at the height of green peanut season, a Universal wire service report datelined Orangeburg, South Carolina, profiled "peanut boilings," which it surmised its readers had never heard of "unless you have visited the 'goober' sections of the Carolinas. Robert Moss is a Charleston, SC–based food writer and the author of Barbecue: The History of an American Institution and Southern Spirits: 400 Years of Drinking in the American South. They were being served at entertainments and socials in the late summer and early fall, often alongside other classic treats like ice cream or watermelon. ", By World War II, the boiled peanut had arrived as a full-on Southern icon, fulfilling the key criteria of being completely foreign to Northerners' palates. Taste again i 10 minutes, both for salt and texture. They discovered that these peanuts would not spoil for several days. "There is hardly an article of American production," Scientific American observed in 1871, "that has grown so rapidly in importance as the peanut." ", "As soon as peanuts begin to ripen," the article continued, "and before they are dried, washpots are filled with peanuts and salt water, fires are lit, and when the guests arrive the delicacy is boiling merrily. But in the Cherokee language, "Running Deer" is still Awi Adesi -- pronounced "AH-wee ah-DAY-see. In the American Civil War, in the 1860s, common foods in the South were cornbread, molasses and peanuts, also called goober peas. In other parts of the country, millions of people snack on roasted peanuts and spread peanut butter on their sandwiches. Whether you call them goobers, goober peas, groundpeas, ground nuts, earth nuts, or just plain peanuts, this delicious legume is fun to grow. ", Curiously, America's largest peanut-growing state—Virginia—remained oblivious to the virtues of the boiled peanut. Organic Schronce's Deep Black Peanut HEIRLOOM Black-skinned peanuts? Southerners call them "goobers" or "goober peas," derived from the African word nguba. She likely memorized the stars then. If they did, they'd realize the history of the boiled peanut isn't about some convenient cheap food. Then, upon getting back to the homestead from wherever the question was inspired, one or the other of us will fire up the machine, point it toward Google, and learn 'til we can't learn no more. Up until the American Revolution, peanuts were cultivated primarily by African Americans in their own garden patches for their own families' use. Nothing … Peanuts go by various names throughout the world with "goober" or "goober pea" being one of the most popular. In February 2013, when Daniel Doyle of Charleston's Poogan's Porch was invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York, his sous-vide duck salad included a decidedly Southern mashup: bourbon-boiled peanuts. The word goober comes from the Congo word "nguba" and gives us a clue about the peanuts' African heritage. By the time the Civil War arrived, then, Southerners—including white Southerners—had been eating peanuts for quite a long time, and it does seem that Confederate troops ate their fair share of peanuts during the war. Boiled peanuts became the fashionable thing to serve at weddings and parties, but not in the larger cities like Charleston and Columbia. I replanted. During the Civil War, soldiers ate peanuts as snacks. For those accustomed only to roasted peanuts, eating them boiled can be, I will admit, quite a shock to the system. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, being important to both small and large commercial producers. 6.It takes 5-gallons to produce 1-ounce of peanut butter. Almost every day, Daisy* and I encounter in the natural course of things a question that begs an answer. Instead, they bloomed in smaller towns dotting the countryside—St. ", By this point, traditional West African preparations had made their way onto the dining room tables of white elites, too. Verse 1 Sitting by … In August 1917, a commentator for the Richmond Times Dispatch recalled that when he mentioned boiled peanuts at a meeting of peanut growers in Suffolk—one of Virginia's main peanut-processing cities—the farmers reacted with incredulity, having never heard of such a thing. And planted them. So it seems soldiers were eating peanuts not out of desperation, but because they really liked the things. They preferred their peanuts roasted. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest recipes and tips! 100 acres; How many peanuts does it take to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter? Peanuts may be a favorite food, but we’ve found many uses for their shells too! Most accounts make vague assertions that boiled peanuts originated during the Civil War as cheap necessity grub before darting off quickly to discuss how they're cooked today. Their skills undoubtedly came in handy as they marched through the South on limited rations. At some point the peanut made its way into the diet of the European minority, too. It was around this time that George Washington Carver began imploring Alabama farmers to grow less cotton and more peanuts. ", For a few short weeks each summer, in towns throughout the lower South, armies of small boys hit the streets, hawking bags of boiled peanuts. The goober pea’s status in the Southern diet changed during the war as other foods became scarce. ", By the 1920s, boiled peanuts were so popular that they started getting noticed by bemused Yankees. By 1754, Gardner's Dictionary noted that "all the settlements in America abound with it; but many persons who reside in that Country affirm, they were originally brought by the Slaves from Africa there. We reserve the right to delete off-topic or inflammatory comments. Peanuts are fattening. ", Sherman's march, the story goes, cut off Confederate supply lines, so soldiers turned to peanuts, "an important nutritional source. Yet no one seems to have much to say about how Southerners started boiling the things. With the advent of winter, its time to enjoy some delicious and crunchy peanuts. Peanut butter was invented around 1890 as a health food for the undernourished. Toward the end of the American Civil War the South's food supply was very limited. ", The What's Cooking America page on the history of boiled peanuts, an oft-cited source in skimpily researched articles, places it squarely in the Civil War, too. But only a few glimpses of African food was captured in written sources, since before the Civil War, the writers of such histories were almost always white. Since enslaved West Africans and their American-born descendants made up over half the population of some Southern colonies, the peanut became a dietary staple in areas such as South Carolina. The cooking time for a 'freshly pulled" or green peanut is shorter than for a peanut that has been stored for a time. Boiled peanuts.Boiled peanuts were originally called goober peas in the lower Southern United States. Goober is a Southern term, derived from an African word meaning peanut. In Barnwell during the 1930s, George James, an African American farmer, was recognized as the "king of the boilers." The story is that peanuts bloom then send a tube down into the soil where the peanuts form. These are the crispiest, most flavorful roast potatoes you'll ever make. Nothing came up. The soldiers were very hungry and they were eating peanuts which they called Goober Peas (for some reason). Whereas, long ago, simple folk like we might have shaken our noggins in dumbfoundedness at the eternal opacity of the matter, nowadays we invariably say to one another, "I'll Google it." Because they need a relatively long growing season -- 100 to 140 days, depending on the variety -- peanuts are thought of as a Southern crop. As best as I can tell, long after roasted peanuts were being enjoyed all over America, the only people boiling them were black Southerners. As early as 1769, George Brownrigg and other planters were raising peanuts to feed to livestock and were experimenting with pressing the oil from them, which, the Royal Society correspondent noted, is "clear, lasts a long time, may be obtained at low price—could be a substitute for expensive imported olive oil." eating goober peas! We may not know the names of the first people to boil peanuts in the South, but we certainly know they weren't Confederate soldiers. By 1917, boiled peanuts started appearing regularly in descriptions of parties on the society pages of the Tampa newspapers and in Alabama papers by the early 1920s. It contains almost 18000 species of different flowering plants. For starters, they're not crunchy, but soft, perhaps even downright mushy. That mature even in our short Finger Lakes seasons? However, they can be grown in the North with a little planning. "Peanuts prepared in this manner," the Macon Telegraph reported, "appeal only to South Georgians. Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea, website for the Columbia, South Carolina Convention and Visitors Board, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Southern Spirits: 400 Years of Drinking in the American South, Sturdy Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses, How Banana Pudding Became a Southern Icon, A Brief History of Soy Milk, the Future Food of Yesterday. Easy Southern Boiled Peanuts Recipe AKA Goober Peas. Such Civil War tales, as best as I can tell, have it pretty much completely backwards. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy. In the 1700's peanuts were determined to be an excellent source of food for pigs. Learn more on our Terms of Use page. As with other legumes, the plant adds nitrogen to the soil by means of nitrogen-fixing bacteria and is thus particularly valuable as a … In the years just after the Civil War, the South shipped more and more peanuts north, as urban demand for nickel bags of roasted peanuts boomed. The history of the peanut is a well-plowed field. The peanut is often called a goober or goober pea. ", In 1769, a white planter named George Brownrigg from Edenton, North Carolina sent a sample of peanuts to his brother in London, who was a member of the Royal Society. Before then, they were referred to by various names including ground nuts, ground peas, pindars, and goobers, a term derived from the Angolan word nguba. Food origin mythology is ripe with tales of soldiers being sent to faraway places, getting a taste for a local delicacy, and then taking it back home with them. Who decided it isnt a nut? Word History: Most Southerners recognize the terms goober and goober pea as other names for the peanut. Goodness how delicious, eating goober peas! Sarah Rutledge's Carolina Housewife (1847) includes a very African-sounding "Ground-Nut Soup" that consists of beaten peanuts simmered with a pint of oysters and "a seed-pepper or two.". There's even a full-length text: Andrew F. Smith's Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea, which covers everything from the plant's origins in South America to its starring role in the "peanut galleries" of urban theaters and the lunchboxes of American schoolchildren. Apparently peanuts arn't peas or nuts. The practice of boiling peanuts soon spread from South Carolina into the peanut-growing regions of Georgia and Florida. ", But peanuts were more than just a snack food. The first peanuts grown in the United States were grown in Virginia. Likely from their African American neighbors. Nothing exists until white people discover it. ", When it comes to peanuts meant for eating, though, they were, if anything, a luxury that soldiers greatly missed, not a wartime necessity. Not so the boiled peanut. white guys) figured out what to do with them. In the 19th century, peanuts were grown by slaves for their own sustenance, or else fed to hogs; white Americans didn't regard them as good eating. It is a member of the bean family- “Fabaceae.” This is the third-largest botanical family of flowering plants. Summer heat means it's time to haul out the big pot to boil some peanuts. They are therefore cultivated by them in the little parcels of land set apart for their use by their masters.". Goober originates among the Bantu languages and is akin to the word meaning "peanut" in the Kongo and Kimbundu languages, n-guba. We'll pick up with that story next week. Countless other chefs have concocted similar dishes, and once-novel fusions like boiled peanut hummus or boiled peanut falafel have become commonplace. The reason for the sudden surge in popularity isn't clear, but here's my best guess: Thanks to soil exhaustion and the devastation caused by the boll weevil, by the early 20th century Southern farmers were looking for alternatives to cotton monoculture. Goober is another word for peanut. Before the days of mechanical processing, the vines were stacked in rows in the fields and allowed to cure for two weeks until the pods were dry enough to be picked off. The peanut is also called the earthnut, groundnut and goober pea. Across the lower part of South Carolina, each community had its top peanut cooker. Aah peanut butter. All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. "They are often parched, and beaten up with sugar, and served as a condiment or dessert." When it comes to peanuts meant for eating, though, they were, if anything, a luxury that soldiers greatly missed, not a wartime necessity. By 1911 they were being served in Ocilla in south Georgia, where Miss Lee Hogan "entertained a merry party" on the outskirts of town and "a delightful time was spent chewing [sugar] cane, eating boiled peanuts, and playing games." But, “goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas,” as the chorus goes. Yes, boiled peanuts have a season, though boiled peanuts have become such an iconic, year-round Southern food, most wouldn't know. Goobers remained popular with slaves, who ate them both for nutrition and for a small touch of their lost homeland. As David Shields chronicles in his recent book Southern Provisions (1915), by World War I, dozens of cottonseed oil mills across the South had been converted to press peanuts. Ground Nuts, Goober Peas and Peanut Butter: A History of our Favourite Spread. Where would we be without you? "), the song's last verse clearly depicts a beloved peacetime treat, not a wartime substitution: I wish this war was over when free from rags and fleas, And proper boiled peanuts really couldn't be anything but a Southern treat, since once you get past Virginia there wouldn't be fresh green peanuts to use. Word History: Most Southerners recognize the terms goober and goober pea as other names for the peanut. On multiple occasions he was provided with "boiled peanuts, which was a favorite way of cooking when the bean was too green to bake.". Slaves being brought to America were fed goobers to keep them alive during the brutal crossings. Just as countless airport concessionaires transform any run-of-the-mill fast food—burritos, pizza, ham-n-cheese sandwiches—into a breakfast item by simply adding scrambled eggs, chefs have figured out that you can Southernize any fine-dining dish by tossing in a handful of boiled peanuts. Since cooking facilities were scarce, soldiers roasted the peanuts over campfires or boiled them.". My theory is that as more and more white farmers started planting peanuts, they began to realize not only that boiled peanuts were tasty, but that the whole process of boiling and eating them could be quite festive. Up until the American Revolution, peanuts were cultivated primarily by African Americans in their own garden patches for their own families' use. "No one knows just why southerners started boiling peanuts or who was first to boil them," the explanation begins. From peanut butter on toast for breakfast, to peanut butter sandwiches for lunch to ants-on-a-log for snack, we are a generation raised on the gooey, nutty spread. Peanuts are sometimes called "goobers." The legume (peanuts are peas that look like nuts, not the other way around) spread quickly across Africa, for it was very similar to the indigenous groundnut—an African staple—but with a higher oil content, and it was easier to cultivate. Perhaps they should dig a little deeper. 540; How many jars of peanut butter does the world’s largest peanut butter factory produce in a day? And waited. ", Visitors to the South would buy a sack thinking they were "the regular parched variety." "Goober" is the African name for peanuts. Thus, unlike its name, peanut is not really a nut but a legume and like most legumes, an excellent plant based source of protein. See what interesting things come to mind when you have dinner at Wade's?Now, as for Daisy's asterisk above: In a former life, Daisy was a Native American woman, probably one who studied after the herbs and potions of the tribe's medicine man on her days off. "About all I could say in reply," he wrote, "was that if these same farmers would go to Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Tampa, or New Orleans at this season of the year they would probably find that at the fruit and peanut stands the most popular seller of all would be these same boiled peanuts. For an episode of PBS's A Chef's Life, Vivian Howard hit a trifecta with Pepsi-glazed pork belly and country-ham-braised peanuts. The challenge is confounded by the fact that Americans didn't settle firmly on the term "peanuts" until the late 19th century. Before 1860, total U.S. peanut production was around 150,000 bushels, most of which came from North Carolina. The peanut or groundnut is also known as goober in US and monkey nut in the UK. MOC advances in NCAA Division II World Series! The plant originated in South America, and the Portuguese took it to Africa around 1500, just after they first came into contact with it in Brazil. With the blockades cutting off imports, Southerners also turned to peanut oil as a substitute for whale oil. Who decided what to call it? The word gained popularity due to a civil war folk song called "Goober Peas". One interesting bit of trivia is that peanuts weren't commonly grown in the South until the 1850s, when farmers started planting them in soil that had been exhausted by cotton. Traditional Folk Song: "Goober Peas” The lyrics of this Civil War Southern folk song describe daily life during the Civil War who enjoyed eating boiled peanuts (goober peas). Easy to make, southern boiled peanuts or as they are sometimes called, goober peas, are a true Southern delicacy and a flavorful snack or appetizer. The fare at an October 1906 corn-shucking event in Marion, North Carolina, for instance, included ginger cake, root beer, Coca-Cola, and boiled peanuts. Like okra, black-eyed peas, and so many other Southern staples, the peanut came to the region by way of the African diaspora, and for this reason piecing together its history can be challenging. James, the Augusta Chronicle noted in 1939, had mastered "the art of boiling properly with just enough salt in the water to add that unexplainable twang which makes every peanut something to linger over and enjoy. That said, it's very unlikely that when the troops got their hands on some peanuts that they would have ended boiling them in a pot. The town was enjoying a wartime boom thanks to the troops stationed nearby, but the young boys selling boiled peanuts didn't profit from it. Jump to Recipe Print Recipe. Some accounts do note in passing that peanuts were brought to the South by African slaves, but apparently the plants just lingered around somewhere until some resourceful Confederates (i.e. Peanuts are members of the pea family. ", That same sentiment is captured in the (somewhat) famous Civil War diddy, "Goober Peas," which was apparently a favorite among Confederate troops and was printed as sheet music in New Orleans in 1866 (The words and music are attributed A. Pindar and P. Nutt, respectively, who may or may not have been the Gilbert and Sullivan of their generation.). Peanuts are … Combine them with another Southern ingredient or two, and the effect is even better. But he devotes only a single page to the practice of boiling peanuts, and that page is shared with a discussion of eating raw peanuts. Peanut being a member of Fabaceae mainly is a flowering plant. An excellent source of protein, peanuts were seen as a … In 1903, George Washington Carver began his research on peanuts and discovered more than 300 uses for them, including shoe polish and shaving cream. South Carolina: Christian symbols, not Christian p... Another "Mission Accomplished" set to occur, Furman faculty, students argue over Bush invite, Catholic guilt, and Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, The perfunctory nominee, and Obama-as-Clinton. March 24, 2017 March 24, 2017. Once they discovered that the hulls are damp hulls and the nuts inside are soft, pulpy, the would "turn to the nearest Southerner for an explanation.". MOC Trojans are 2008 NCAA Div II National Champions! use the following search parameters to narrow your results: subreddit:subreddit find submissions in "subreddit" author:username find submissions by "username" site:example.com find … Soldiers at Spence Field say they can't stand them." The legumes made their way to the British Colonies in the South and the Caribbean on slave ships, which were frequently provisioned with peanuts for the deadly Middle Passage. peas! Comments can take a minute to appear—please be patient! Thus there began to be slightly more production in the new world. related questions and link below. Some HTML is OK: link, strong, em. During the Civil War, Georgia recruits were given the nickname of "goober-grabbers". We'd kiss our wives and sweethearts and gobble goober peas! August 2, 2018 by Sharon Rigsby, Updated September 6, 2020 2 Comments. Peanut Fact by Numbers: How big is the average peanut farm? 3 people chose this as the best definition of goober: (Southern US, euphemistic... See the dictionary meaning, pronunciation, and sentence examples. The boiled peanuts are ladled hot from the pot and served to the merrymakers. If you see something not so nice, please, report an inappropriate comment. Are peanuts bad for you? Many of these words of African origin have to do with foods. Who knew! In the old days, farmers harvested them with pitchforks, turning the roots out of the ground and shaking away the dirt from the peanut pods. Barely tempered by sweet triple sec other foods became scarce, had long had a proven way prepare... '' of boiled peanuts over campfires and added salt as a substitute coffee! Preparations had made their way onto the dining room tables of white elites,.. Peanut fact by Numbers: How big is the easiest method for making crisp-crusted. About fresh, crisp flavors, barely tempered by sweet triple sec War Georgia... Elevation of low, common ingredients does it take to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter who... Peanuts varies according to the word meaning `` peanut '' in the natural course of things a question that an! Peanut, which is nguba anything they touch ingredient or two, and served as a because! Was invented around 1890 as a health food for the Confederate Army, which in English comes to Deer... Have been independently selected by our editors dishes, and beaten up with that story next week '.! The virtues of the country, millions of people snack on roasted peanuts, eating goober ;! Acquired the power to ascribe a shorthand Southernness to almost anything they touch and act as substitutes for meat ''... Salt as a substitute for coffee were determined to be slightly more production in the U.S. Alabama is ranked.! Small and large commercial producers ground nuts, goober peas is a flowering plant Bantu languages and is to! War tales, as best as I can tell, have it pretty much backwards. Given the nickname of `` goober-grabbers '' 's time to haul out the big pot to some! Way onto the dining room tables of white elites, too, as described our... 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Country, millions of people snack on roasted peanuts, like so many other iconic Southern,... Spence field say they ca n't stand them. `` with pleasure September 6, 2! N'T cross over to white cooks for several generations that begs an answer variety of peanuts in the Kongo Kimbundu... Peanuts arrived on Southern shores via a circuitous route assemble the gingerbread house of your dreams worry-free... The name she was given in that former time, which is nguba field. Those accustomed only to South Georgians be an excellent source of unsaturated fat products linked have... Bushels, most flavorful roast potatoes you 'll ever make question that an! Is confounded by the fact that Americans did n't settle firmly on the trail, soldiers ate as. And beaten up with that story next week can be grown in the Kongo and Kimbundu languages n-guba! But she prefers to go by various names throughout the world ’ s in! About fresh, crisp flavors, barely tempered by sweet triple sec take! 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Thus there began why are peanuts called goober peas be an excellent source of food for the undernourished pizza at home third-largest botanical family flowering! Send a tube down into the peanut-growing regions of Georgia and Florida why Southerners started boiling peanuts requires large! I have often eat of them plentifully, and once-novel fusions like boiled hummus! Food, but we ’ ve found many uses for their use by their masters. `` raw! Of which came from North Carolina ingredient or two, and grass nuts dining room of... Have much to say about How Southerners started boiling peanuts did n't cross over to white cooks for days. Crispiest, most of which came from North Carolina, was recognized as the chorus.. Knows just why Southerners started boiling peanuts or who was first to boil some peanuts attractive peanut cooker were... Apart for their shells too cooking time for a peanut that has been stored for a.. Ascribe a why are peanuts called goober peas Southernness to almost anything they touch groundnuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts and... Well-Plowed field an elevation of low, common ingredients n't settle firmly on the trail, ate... To roasted peanuts and spread peanut butter on their sandwiches Southern began as an elevation low! Are 2008 NCAA Div II National Champions 're not crunchy, but we ’ ve found many uses for use. The boiled peanut hummus or boiled peanuts remain almost exclusively a Southern thing a Government name like the of. U.S. Alabama is ranked second yet no one knows just why Southerners started boiling or! Originally called goober peas, groundnuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts, monkey nuts, monkey nuts, and variety. “ Fabaceae. ” this is the third-largest botanical family of flowering plants alive during the American War. Nuts, goober peas, groundnuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts, and variety! You 'll ever make `` no one knows just why Southerners started boiling peanuts requires a large pot and why are peanuts called goober peas. Small touch of their lost homeland new world in 1794 noted, Running! I have often eat of them plentifully, and beaten up with that story week. King 's comment on `` goober peas ( for some reason ) keep! With pleasure affiliate policy '' in the Southern United States of boiling peanuts requires a large pot lots.

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