Okay, so you want to make some boiled peanuts. If you ask a dozen people how to make them, you will probably get a dozen recipes. Some people like them firm (commonly called “hard nuts”), some like them soft. Some like them slightly salty, some like them very salty. Some even like them with BBQ or Cajun seasonings. Personally, I like them soft and on the salty side. Here’s how I make them:
First things first: What type of peanut is best for boiling? You can use any type, but personally, I prefer the Valencia or Spanish varieties. They are smaller, and sweeter. However, in Georgia, the most common type available is the Runner which also makes a great boiled peanut. As a last resort, I would use the Virginia variety, which are the largest of the US grown peanut varieties. They are not as sweet, and take longer to cook.
Regardless of the type of peanut you use, you must use green peanuts. “Green” has nothing to do with the color of the peanut. It means they are raw, fresh picked and not dried out. NOT ROASTED!
- Rinse the peanuts well, and place in a deep pot.
- Add enough water to cover the peanuts by about 1 inch.
- Add about 3/4 cup of salt for every gallon of water. This may seem like a lot of salt, but trust me, it’s not.
- Bring to a rapid boil (covered), and then reduce the heat, but keep it high enough to maintain a gentle rolling boil.
- Boil partially covered for 3 hours, and then start sampling. During this time, the peanuts will create a foam on the top of the water. If you are cooking these on the stove, you will want to skim this foam off from time to time to cut down on the mess.
- Continue to boil until the peanuts reach your preferred consistency (it’s usually about 4 hours for me, depending on the age of the peanut*).
- Remove from the heat, drain and eat. If you want them saltier, allow them to soak in the brine solution until they reach your desired saltiness.
Once you cooked a batch, the second one will be easier. Adjust the cook time and amount of salt to your preference.
*The amount of cooking time depends on the maturity of the peanut. The longer the peanuts was left in the ground (the later in the season), the longer the cooking time required.