How to Boil Peanuts
Wondering how to boil peanuts to perfection? Have a question? Time is an essential factor when boiling peanuts.
Boiling time controls the softness of the peanuts, and soaking time determines the liquid saturation, and flavor inside the pod. It is difficult to define how long to boil peanuts, because it is variable. The challenge with boiling peanuts optimally is the variation in the raw peanuts that you are boiling. The peanuts may be small, immature, fresh dug, and full of moisture, or they may be large, mature, and dried.
You must sample your peanuts as they boil, to decide when they are done to your taste.
Raw peanuts' size, maturity, and moisture content determines how long they must boil for the best tasting results. This is not a complex problem, else commercial vendors could not be boiling peanuts successfully.
You need to know your peanuts. Learn each bag that you buy by boiling, and tasting them as you observe how the texture changes as they cook. This is the way to learn how to boil peanuts.
It's simple, fun, and delicious. After boiling a particular batch of raw peanuts to your liking, you can repeat that recipe with the rest of the batch. Some people prefer a firmer, crisper boiled peanut, others prefer a softer peanut.
How to Boil Peanuts - Boiled Peanuts Recipe
Rinse the raw peanuts several times to remove any dirt. Place the rinsed raw peanuts into a large stock pot, or slow cooker. Add water to the pot, enough to float the peanuts, leaving at least 1" room at the top of the pot. Add salt, about 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) of salt per gallon of water.
Bring the water, peanuts, and salt to a boil. Boiling time depends on whether you have Green peanuts or Raw Dried Peanuts.
Green peanuts will need to boil at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours. Dried raw peanuts must be cooked much longer time, up to 24 hours until they are soft, and saturated with the salt water. If your water is hard (full of minerals), or you are boiling at high altitudes, then your boiling times for dried peanuts will be greater than 24 hours.
The qualities of a perfectly boiled peanut are much more than softness, saltiness, and wetness, though these are good starting points for discussion.
It's not easy to describe the taste, and texture changes that raw peanuts go through as they boil. These changes are easily noticeable as you sample the boiling peanuts as they cook.
Raw peanuts are very firm, and have a green or vegetal flavor (similar to fresh raw peas). After initial boiling, peanuts begin to soften, but remain rather firm with no salty flavor from the liquid. The raw quality disappears after a little of boiling time. Boiling longer, the peanuts further soften, change texture, the flavor becomes more meaty. With additional boiling, they soften further, and finally, with soaking as they cool, the peanuts become wet, and much saltier. Do not be tempted to add salt before the peanuts are fully boiled, and saturated with the solution. This is a common mistake. If a recipe says "Remove the peanuts quickly from the liquid or they will be too salty", then they called for too much salt initially.
Cooking beyond done will not improve the quality, but they will still be good if left simmering slowly, at low heat for several hours.
After boiling, let the peanuts soak in the liquid as it cools, and they will become more moist, and flavorful. Some cooks use periodic cooling and soaking cycles to infuse the water and flavor into dried peanuts.
Fortunately, there is a wide margin of time for boiling peanuts.
It's not hard to learn how to boil peanuts, as long as you taste them periodically as they boil.
Now you know how to boil peanuts. Boiling dried peanuts takes many hours. Pay attention. Never leave a boiling pot of peanuts unattended on a stove. When the water boils away, a fire can start from the dried contents, and the pot can melt. Turn off the burner if you must walk away. The peanuts will continue to simmer in the cooling water until you return.
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