I had a chance to get some boiled peanuts at the strawberry fest.. instead of getting one bag I got two..the other half and I shared the first the bag the second one disappeared two days after that.. he had never heard of them before moving to Florida and the concept was foreign to him and I explained the little bit that I did know about them and decided to do a little bit of research and help others understand more about boiled peanuts.
There are three essential things to remember about boiled peanuts and they are as follows:
1) They do not taste like a peanuts.. it’s like a salty pea. My mom was disgusted by the thought and called them salty slugs.. they are not that big.. though you may get lucky and get 3 peanuts in one shell.. which is like the boiled peanut jackpot.
2) They are an acquired taste for those who have never tried it and never grew up eating them. It took me about a year and a half to actually like them. I thought they were gross and salty. Now I love them.
3) This is an extreme finger food, don’t have your best clothes on when eating them because they are a little juicy and the juice can stain your clothes. Have paper towels nearby to wipe your hands as they will get wet and have a drink close as well.
So what does it take to make boiled peanuts?
Raw or “green” peanuts are generally used for boiled peanuts. A green peanut is a term to describe farm fresh harvested peanuts that have not been dehydrated, they come straight from the ground and moist.They are also highly perishable and therefore are only available during the weeks that peanuts are harvested.
Green peanuts are available from grocery stores, food distributors and farmers markets, during the growing season.Most raw peanuts are not green, but are air dried to bring down their moisture content and make them storable. 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.
Here are some other fun facts about boiled peanuts:
Boiled peanuts are eaten in parts of Asia, Africa, South & Central America.
They are extremely popular in the Deep South (shown below)
How big of a deal are peanuts in the South?
Peanuts are big in Alabama. The state is third in the nation in the amount of peanuts produced — behind Georgia and Texas — with a crop last year valued at more than $67 million. This year, Alabama is expected to produce 376.8 million pounds of peanuts (as of 2007).
What are the health benefits to eating boiled peanuts?
While peanuts are considered high in fat, they primarily contain “good” fats, which are also known as unsaturated fats. One serving of peanuts contains 11.5 grams unsaturated fat and two grams of saturated fat.As a matter of fact, peanuts have been linked to promoting numerous heart-healthy benefits. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration released a health claim recognizing peanuts in helping to maintain cholesterol.
That’s it.. I’m ready to try some!
For those that don’t live in the Southern US where they are popular here are some ways to make them at home.. or if you have had them at a roadside stand and want more..
Wash unshelled peanuts thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear (removing loose soil and sprouts, stems, weeds, and leaves); then soak in cool, clean water for approximately 30 minutes before cooking.
In a large heavy pot, place soaked peanuts and cover completely with water. Stir to “settle” the peanuts. Add enough water to cover the peanuts by 2 inches or more.
Add 1 cup of salt per gallon of water used. Other spices or seasonings (such as shrimp or crab boil, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, and other strong spices) may be added at this point, if desired.
Bring water to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the peanuts simmer, covered, for approximately 4 hours (may take longer), stirring occasionally, and then taste. Add additional water as needed to keep the peanuts covered.
Taste again in 10 minutes, both for salt and texture. Keep cooking and tasting until the peanuts reach desired texture (when fully cooked, the texture of the peanut should be similar to that of a cooked dry pea or bean). To check whether they are done, pull 1 or 2 peanuts out of the pot and crack them open. When they are soft, they are done. If they are still slightly crunchy, they are not done yet, If they are not salty enough, leave them in the salted water and turn off the heat.
NOTE: The cooking time of boiled peanuts varies according to the maturity of the peanuts used and the variety of peanuts. The cooking time for a “freshly pulled” or green peanut is shorter than for a peanut that has been stored for a time.
Remove from heat and drain peanuts after cooking or they will absorb salt and become over salted.
Peanuts may be eaten hot or at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold, shelling as you eat them. The peanuts may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one (1) week.
Freezing boiled peanuts: Prepare peanuts as indicated above. Drain, allow to cool, and freeze in airtight containers. They keep indefinitely.
Canning Boiled Peanuts: Prepare peanuts and brine the same as for boiling for immediate use. Pack peanuts into sterilized jars to within one-half inch of the top, using equal weights of peanuts and hot brine (212°F). Partially submerge containers in upright position in boiling water for 10 minutes. Seal while hot and process 45 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Cool containers in water, label, and store away from heat.
Additional note Cooking in a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot): Loved all the letters on boiled peanuts. For inside cooking, an easy way to make boiled peanuts is in the slow cooker (crock pot). Soak nuts then put salt water and peanuts in the cooker. Put on slow (low) cook and let the peanuts cook all night. Check if tender or salty enough. If not to your liking, add more salt and water if, needed, and cook longer. Delicious
Here’s another recipe I found that uses green peanuts (top) and regular dry peanuts (bottom recipe)
2-3 pounds raw, new peanuts (green peanuts)
2/3 cup salt
enough water to completely cover the peanuts
Instructions for pressure cooking green peanuts:
Wash green peanuts well in cool water. The shells hang on to a lot of dirt because peanuts grow underground. Trust me, you don’t want dirt in your cooking water.
Place peanuts in a pressure cooker and add enough cool water to completely cover them.
Stir in the salt then place the lid on the pressure cooker. Turn the heat on high and cook at 10 pounds of pressure for 45 minutes. If you are using a pressure cooker with a gauge, start timing after the indicator on the gauge reaches 10 pounds. If you are using a pressure cooker with a pressure regulator (jiggler), then start timing when the pressure regulator starts jiggling. You can lower the heat so that the pressure regulator only jiggles a few times per minute.
At the end of the 45 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to drop of its own accord.
If the peanuts are not soft enough or salty enough, leave the lid off of the pressure cooker and boil the peanuts until they are to your personal liking.
Instructions for using raw, dry peanuts:
Put peanuts in cooking pot and cover with cool water. Allow to soak overnight.
The next day, drain off water and refill pot with enough fresh water to completely cover the peanuts.
Add salt as above.
Pressure cook for an hour at 10 pounds pressure. Turn off heat and allow the pressure of it own accord.
Follow # 5 above.