World’s largest peanut boil underway

Published 9:21 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

Progress has come to the World’s Largest Peanut Boil in Luverne.

The boiling pots of old have given way to tanks that hold about 400 gallons of water and about 480 pounds of peanuts.

While the customers seemed a little “nostalgic” about the change, those who stand over the boiling pots stirring them with boat paddles don’t mind a bit.

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“The boiling time is about the same as with the small pots but you can boil so many more peanuts at one time .. yeah, we like it,” said Shelton Morrell, president of the sponsoring Crenshaw County Shrine Club. “The peanuts come off in about two and a half hours just like before but, when you’ve got 20 tons to boil, these tanks are the way to go.”

Morrell said the brine had to be poured off after each boiling in the small pots compared to only three times with the tanks.

The World’s Largest Peanut Boil is a Labor Day tradition for most folks within driving distance of Luverne and for a lot of travelers going to and coming from the beaches. And even before the first batch of peanuts have cooked off and are sacked people are standing waiting.

The crowd was steady Thursday afternoon and Richard Tew of Brundidge was among those in line. He was an early bird because he didn’t want to be left with an empty bag like had happened to him once before.

“I called this morning to make sure they were selling today and they told me that they had actually started selling yesterday,” Tew said. “I came right on over. One time I missed out and I didn’t want that to happen again.”

Tew said he has been making the 35-minute drive to Luverne for years.

“It’s easier than pulling, cleaning and boiling peanuts yourself and, too, the Shriners peanuts are always good,” he said. “I bought four bags and they won’t make it to the freezer.”

Tew is among the many Pike Countains who “traditionally” make the trek to their county neighbor and this year, Morrell said, hopes are that the Shriners have enough peanuts to last until Sunday.

“We got 16 tons and then went back and got another four tons,” he said. “That’s about all that we can hold out to boil and we hope the peanuts hold out until every customer is served.”