Boiling peanuts at high altitude

by Megan

Anybody cook nuts at higher altitudes? I live in Denver, 5280 feet. How much longer should I expect to cook my boiled peanuts? I used raw-not green. Its been about 30 hours in the crock pot on high plus 8 hours on low, but they still have very hard shells, are about halfway as soft inside as I'd like and have yet to really absorb the flavors of the brine. Should it really take more than 2 days?

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Nov 26, 2018
Boiling Peanuts at High Altitude
by: Bret

I also boil dried peanuts at a mile above sea level. I can't speak to using a slow cooker for boiling them, as I have never done that. I've used a stock pot on the stove, but mostly use a Presto pressure cooker at 15 lb pressure to reduce the time dramatically.

It may be that your slow cooker cannot create a rolling boil like a pot on the stove. Also, using salt water from the beginning increases the boiling time required to soften them. Many of us boil the peanuts in plain water, and add the salt after the peanuts soften. The flavor of the brine will not penetrate the shell, and the peanuts inside until they soften.

If you have hard water, full of minerals, that will also slow the softening of dried peanuts when boiling them. A friend of ours boiled peanuts in Fort Collins, and had to boil them for 48 hours before they softened to his liking. He used more salt than I typically use. I had boiled the same peanuts for about 24 hours in Boulder. My guess is that it either the amount of salt that he used, or his water was hard, or a combination of the two.

The bottom line is boil them until they soften to your liking, then simmer, and soak them until they absorb the briny flavor. Many online recipes call for more salt than is needed, then recommend removing the peanuts from the brine so that they do not become too salty. If you use the proper amount of salt, the peanuts can soak them indefinitely and they will not become too salty. We suggest starting with 1 tablespoon of salt per pint of water, which is ½ cup of salt per gallon. Adjust to your taste.

One final factor that we've seen causing extra long boiling times is the age of the dried peanuts. Several years ago I purchased 48 pounds of dried Valencia peanuts from Portales, New Mexico. I noticed that after 1.5 years from their purchase they took longer to soften, and by 2 years their taste, and texture was unpleasant no matter how long they boiled.

You might consider using a pressure cooker to boil your peanuts at altitude.

boiled peanuts

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