Boiled peanuts are a rare sight outside of the South, but it’s likely that you’ve seen them at some point in canned form whenever browsing grocery store shelves. While boiling peanuts might seem like a really odd, foreign concept, I can attest to the fact that they’re actually really delicious and pretty easy to make.
Of course, for the uninitiated, there are still certain ways in which the whole process can go awry, so here’s a guide to proper preparation and how long to boil peanuts.
The short answer is at least 3 hours. 1 hour is to give the peanuts an initial boil. The seasonings then come next, followed by a continuous boil of at least 2 hours, depending on the type of peanuts used.
Peanuts come in a diverse range of varieties with their own unique qualities, including specific sizes, textures, and tastes. As you can imagine, some types of peanuts are better than others for boiling, which is why you need to be highly selective in what you choose.
Although it might be difficult for you to get your hands on some depending on where you live, I can’t recommend enough using raw green peanuts for boiling. Green peanuts are immature (not fully grown) peanuts that are picked very early on in the peanut harvesting season. Unlike fully developed peanuts that are kind of hard and grainy, green peanuts are comparatively soft and composed, resulting in a very easy to consume texture and fresh taste.
The biggest issue with green peanuts is that you can only get them at specific times of the year, usually only from July until November. That’s a pretty decent window all things considered, but if you want to get your hands on them during the winter or spring, you’re going to be out of luck.
The variety of peanut you use is also important too; you can use any type of peanut that you wish, but some are going to be much better than others. In my opinion, the best kind you can use are Valencia peanuts and the worst would probably be Spanish peanuts.
Valencia peanuts tend to naturally be softer, smoother, and smaller, making them a good choice for boiling, whereas the advantages of Spanish peanuts are that they’re exceptionally crunchy and have a strong flavor, which aren’t ideal characteristics for this recipe.
There are a million different variations you can try when boiling peanuts, but it’s considered a pretty standard practice to use peanuts that are still in their shells, rather than cooking them after being removed. Keeping the shells on results in a very intact texture and, if you’re using seasoning of some kind, seals in flavor really well.
The first step you need to take is to clean the peanut shells. Peanuts get pulled straight out of the ground, so they’re likely to have lot of residual dirt on them. Unless you want some potentially unpleasant earthy flavor with your peanuts, then cleaning them is important.
Soak the peanuts in a bowl of water for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how clean you want them to be, in order to loosen the dirt, then scrub them really well under the sink.
Boiling peanuts is a multi-step process, with it being necessary to give the peanuts an initial boil to loosen them up. Exactly how you boil peanuts is going to depend heavily on the cooking method you end up using.
The traditional method is to boil peanuts on a stovetop with a lid to keep all the moisture in, which is a process that takes about an hour.
Once the initial boiling step is over, you can then move on to the seasoning step.
Unless you’re watching your sodium intake, it’s always a good idea to add a decent helping of salt to your cooking water to help enhance the natural flavor of the peanuts.
If you’re looking for more complex flavors in your peanuts, you can add certain spices and ingredients in addition to salt to give them an extra kick.
While you can use pretty much any kind of seasoning you can think of, boiled peanuts are usually boiled with some kind of spicy robust seasoning mix. You can opt for something like Old Bay Seasoning, red pepper flakes, or even something like chipotle seasoning if you’re interested in a bit of Southwest flare.
After your boiling water has been adequately seasoned, you can continue the boiling process.
You should place the lid back onto the pot and boil the peanuts on medium-high heat for about 2 more hours. You don’t want to be too rigorous with boiling during this step as too much heat for too long can ruin the texture. You want to aim for a long, slow boil that keeps the integrity of the peanuts intact.
In regard to cooking times, these instructions are assuming you’re using green peanuts as they’re the most ideal for boiling and don’t take too much time. If you’re using dried peanuts, it could take upwards of an entire day to fully get the soft texture you’re looking for.
Once the peanuts are fully cooked, it’s important to leave them on the stove on very low heat for an hour in order for them to completely absorb any water or seasonings.
Boiled peanuts are definitely tasty, but there are some important details to keep in mind when eating them that can determine the quality of your experience.
To begin with, the shells are going to be really soft and they’re technically edible, but you should probably refrain from eating them. HOWEVER, they do contain a lot of delicious peanutty juice in them, so it’s common for people to suck on them to get a massive burst of flavor.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to consume boiled peanuts when they’re warm. They’ll be fine if they’re all cooled down, but they’re especially good when they’re at a cozy temperature.
Boiled peanuts are a delicious treat that a lot of people don’t get to try and that’s a real shame. Hopefully, you’ll test out a recipe sometime and now that you know how long to boil peanuts, you’ll be able to get some goobers with a super smooth texture.