It is National Grandparents Day, and if you have been following my blog, then you know that my grandparents were peanut farmers in Statesboro, Georgia, so it was bred into me early on to have a love for the legume, especially boiled.
As a child living in Charleston, my family would pack up on the weekends to visit my grandparents. I have the best memories of walking into their farmhouse to the aroma of fresh peanuts boiling on the stove, so earthy yet sweet. I also remember my mother shelling fresh peas (tossing the shells out of the station wagon window) all the way home.
Boiled peanuts are an iconic road side staple in the South. My husband, God bless him, puts up with me screaming, “STOOOOOPPPP!”, each time I see them being sold in some shack or shiny trailer that we happen to pass by. I need one of those stickers that says, “I Brake For Boiled Peanuts.”
It is not difficult to boil peanuts. You just have to buy them at the right time of the year, usually May through November with my preference being early fall, and boil them in salted water until they become your desired consistency. I don’t like them overly salted or mushy, but perfectly firm with a slightly soft shell. One I can still bite and crack open with my teeth.
Many supermarkets sell dried nuts for boiling, but the fresh green nuts really are the best. Publix sells a 2 pound fresh green bag. We have many regional farmers that sell fresh green peanuts in the Northwest Florida Panhandle, from Jay to Bonifay too. Check your local farmers market or CSA.
Boiled Peanuts Recipe
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cook time: 2 hours (depending on the peanuts)
You can easily double or triple the recipe depending on your crowd. The longer the peanuts cook or sit in the water, the saltier they will become, and the longer the peanuts cook, the softer the shells will become. As I mentioned before, salty mushy nuts are not appealing to me. Slightly firm, but still soft to where the shell will pry open easily is what I look for. If crunchy or crisp, they need to cook longer.
If you are cooking boiled peanuts for the first time, work with a small batch (like the one pound recipe that follows), and learn to adjust the salt to your liking. It is like boiled crawfish or a good gumbo, to your desired taste.
1 pound of raw (green) peanuts
1/4 cup kosher salt
4 cups water
Note: For those that like Cajun boiled peanuts, add some Old Bay seasoning to the water. I still prefer them plain and simple.
Thoroughly rinse raw unshelled peanuts. In a stock pot add the pound of rinsed fresh green peanuts, cover with water, add salt, cover with the lid, and bring to a low boil. Cook for 2 hours, tasting until desired consistency, keeping the water in the pot within an inch or so of its original level with regular additions of water, until the peanuts are soft but firm. Drain an eat immediately.
Note: The fresher the peanut the shorter the cooking time. Dried peanuts need to be soaked overnight (or up to 8 hours), and may take up to 4-6 hours to cook. You can keep leftover peanuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to a month.