How To Boil Peanuts
Green peanut is a term to describe farm fresh harvested peanuts that have not been dehydrated. They are available from grocery stores, food distributors and farmers markets, during the growing season.
In contrast, raw peanuts are dehydrated/dry peanuts. They are uncooked and ready to be boiled after being re-hydrated. Roasted peanuts have already been cooked and should not be boiled. Boiling green peanuts is a tradition in the rural southeastern US where peanuts are grown both in small gardens and large farms. They are also enjoyed in India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Australia, and Vietnam. There are many variations, depending on the seasoning used, but the basic method is the same for all of them, and the process of boiling makes the peanuts healthier for you since boiled peanuts have more polyphenol antioxidants than roasted ones. Here are the steps for this fun project.
Jumbo peanuts or Valencia peanuts are preferred by many, but most standard peanuts work well, so long as they are still green. Do not attempt this recipe with roasted peanuts, as they will not become soft, no matter how long you cook them. In the south, farmer’s markets and roadside vendors sell green peanuts from early summer through late fall or first frost. Dry/raw peanuts can be enjoyed year round but need to be soaked in water 24 hours before boiling.
You can place your peanuts in a large pot or bucket and use a sprayer on a garden hose to rinse your peanuts, and when the water floats the nuts, the loose debris will float to the top when the contents of the pot is agitated or stirred.
Some will float to the top, so the amount of water may have a deceptive appearance. Push the peanuts down with your (clean) hands, and you will be able to tell how much water is in the pot.
This can be tricky, but a rule of thumb is to add 1/4 cup salt for every ten pounds of green peanuts. For older, tougher peanuts, more salt may be needed so the nut will absorb enough salt to season your nuts.
Here, sliced jalapeno peppers are added to give the finished peanuts a bit of heat. Garlic, either fresh or powder, liquid crab boil seasoning, chili powder, and other strong spices may be used as well.
On the propane stove, you light the burner and turn the flame up high, on a cooktop, turn the burner to high until the water is rapidly boiling, then reduce the heat/flame so that it maintains a rolling boil without producing excess heat.
Peanuts that have fully absorbed water will sink to the bottom of the pot. When they have become tender, and the nut has become from the shell when it is opened, the peanuts are done. Cooking may take as long as 2-4 hours, depending on the altitude.
If you desire, before removing the nuts from the boiling water, additional salt can be added and the peanuts can continue to boil for another 30 minutes or so. Keep in mind that with the increased salinity of the water, and the additional boiling time, the already cooked peanuts can become too salty very quickly, so use caution at this stage.