Investigating the how and why of good cooking.


Summer Means Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are a southern favorite. You can tell a true southerner by the look on their face when you mention boiled peanuts. A southerner instantly thinks of family, a northerner will look puzzled. I once tried to educate some friends from Wisconsin, but when they tasted this culinary masterpiece, they still looked puzzled and said “they’re mushy?” I guess you have to be weaned on them to fully appreciate them. For me, boiled peanuts evoke memories of my family sitting around my grandmothers front porch. When the crop would be ready, my uncle would recruit us to go to the field and pull up the plants by their roots. (I always tried to avoid this part, cause it’s a lot of work!) Then he would bring a pickup truck load over to Granny’s and we would all pull the peanuts from the roots. They were cleaned and then boiled fresh with lots of salt. That afternoon or evening, we would all eat peanuts until they were gone. It was a lot of peanuts, but there were a lot of us.

Eat them freshly boiled, or if you can stand it, they are even better after sitting a while for all the salty flavor to seep into the shells. If there are leftovers, store in the refrigerator or freezer.

2 pounds fresh green peanuts in shells (see below)
3 T salt or to taste (I like a lot)
water to cover
If you like Cajun style- add 1 chopped jalapeno pepper, but I don’t

Wash the peanuts well. Place them in a large pot and add enough water to cover well. Add the salt and stir.
Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours, adding water as needed to keep covered.
After 3 hours, if you can wait that long, test a peanut for doneness: Remove and cool briefly, then taste. Peanuts should be soft, not crunchy or hard. Continue to boil and test until done. If you let the peanuts cool in the water, they will be juicy and salty. When cool drain and enjoy!

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot
You can also cook peanuts all day in a crockpot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like to put these in the crock pot and leave them all day. You want the water to be salty to taste, but be aware that the salt will concentrate in the peanut after cooking. On the other hand, they aren’t really the same if there isn’t enough salt and salting them later doesn’t work.

In an emergency, (like winter) you can use raw peanuts, but they will take much longer to cook, and they will never get quite soft enough. If you are used to the ones you get in the convience stores, you will like the raw ones. For me, green is definitely best when available. Green peanuts are smaller and softer- fresh.

If there are any left over, you can refrigerate or freeze them. If frozen, thaw in a little salt water in the microwave to freshen.


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