My family recently took a trip to Virginia for a family reunion. When we first crossed the border from West Virginia into Virginia along Interstate 64, we stopped by the Virginia Welcome Center at Covington, which was giving out free samples of Virginia peanuts. I’m a big fan of peanuts, but I’d never had Virginia peanuts before.
I was impressed. Virginia peanuts are a little larger than your typical peanuts, and they are also a lot crunchier. This second quality is what really makes them distinct.
I liked the free sample enough that I set out to find some Virginia peanuts before leaving the state. This proved surprisingly hard: none of the major grocers in Virginia that I visited — Kroger, Walmart, and Aldi — stocked them. I eventually located a small shop in Staunton, Virginia (recommended by workers from Kroger, of all places) where I could pick some up, but I assumed that this would probably be the first and last time I’d be able to get Virginia peanuts.
And then Trader Joe’s proved me wrong.
Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Blister Peanuts (Salted) run $2.99 for a 13 ounce bag, or 23 cents an ounce. Unlike its counterpart, Trader Joe’s Roasted and Salted Peanuts, the blister peanuts do not come in a resealable bag.
While the front of the bag doesn’t say it, the ingredients on the back note that these are, in fact, Virginia peanuts. This is a surprisingly affordable price for them, too: I paid over 37 cents an ounce when I purchased them in Virginia proper. I don’t mind paying more to support a local business, but I have to admit that I’m impressed that Trader Joe’s not only has them in the Midwest where I live, but is able to offer them for a very reasonable price.
So, how did the TJ’s Virginia peanuts stack up?
Pretty good, actually. The taste is definitely there, as is the crunch. These crack just the way the ones we bought in Virginia did. The Trader Joe’s peanuts might be a little smaller than the ones we bought in Virginia, but in all other respects these were exactly what we hoped we’d get.
The ingredients are sublimely simple. There are just three: extra large water blanched Virginia peanuts, peanut oil, and salt. (The packaging puts a comma between “extra large” and the rest of the Virginia peanuts, but we’ll excuse it.)
If you’re part of that niche of people who likes Virginia peanuts, Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Blister Peanuts are just that — true Virginia peanuts. With the taste and crunch you’d expect, they’re the real deal. And if you’re just a peanut fan who hasn’t tried these before, they’re worth a look. Recommended.