March is Peanut Month here in Alabama, and whether you’re snacking on them boiled, roasted or maybe just a big ol’ spoonful of peanut butter, there’s a good chance those peanuts were grown right here in our home state. That’s because Alabama is the second largest peanut-growing state in the nation with over 900 peanut farmers. In fact, half of all peanuts produced in the U.S. are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan.
Henry County farmer Thomas Adams is nuts about the legume. His family grows peanuts around Newville. But he’s not too picky when it comes to his favorite peanut-powered snack; he’ll eat ‘em raw from the field, roasted, coated in a thin layer of chocolate as Peanut M&Ms or in peanut butter pie, to name a few. He fondly remembers his grandmother’s peanut caramel cake, a family favorite.
“I love that I’m growing a healthy, nutritious snack that is great for the environment,” said Adams, who serves District 12 on the Alabama Farmers Federation board of directors. “Peanuts are a filling snack. You can eat a few ounces, and that’ll carry you over to the next mealtime.”
While I don’t have his grandmother’s recipe for that peanut caramel cake, I do have up my sleeve a few recipes where peanuts really shine.
Take Chewy Peanut Butter Cookie Bars, for example. These crazy-easy bars feature salted peanuts, peanut butter and peanut butter chips! There’s some serious peanut flavor in these.
And we can’t talk about peanuts without mentioning Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Meringue Pie. This is a classic. The velvety smooth filling is the perfect complement to the peanut butter crumble mixture that goes in and on top of the pie.
Last, but not least, is Aunt Matilda’s Peanut Brittle. This classic recipe might require a little more finesse than you’re used to, but the reward is absolutely worth the effort. We’ve been making this peanut brittle as long as I can remember.
With peanuts and peanut butter making up two-thirds of nut consumption in the U.S., chances are you’re already familiar with the legume some folks affectionately call goobers. Keep on enjoying those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but don’t be afraid to branch out and sample peanuts in a few new ways. Y’all enjoy!