How often to stir peanuts when boiling them?

by Phillip
(Brandon, Mississippi)

How important is stirring when boiling peanuts? Once you bring them to a boil, what temperature do you boil them? Simmer?

Phillip from Mississippi.

Comments for How often to stir peanuts when boiling them?

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Jul 02, 2012
Stirring peanuts while boiling
by: Bret

If the peanuts are fully submerged in plenty of water, and the peanuts are not packed tightly inside the pot, then the amount of stirring is not terribly critical. Initial stirring of the liquid is useful to distribute the salt and other spices in the water.

The peanuts will naturally move throughout the boiling or simmering liquid, unless you pack the pot with too many peanuts for the size of the pot. If you over pack the pot with peanuts, then stirring becomes difficult, or impossible, and you will break many peanuts while attempting to stir them.

Many people fuss with the peanuts when they are first put in the pot, because the peanuts initially float. The peanuts will begin to sink into the brine as the shells become wet. Some people use a 'too small lid' to push the peanuts down under the water line. This may help, but it is not necessary.

The water can be a rolling boil, or a simmer. I don't know anyone that measures the temperature of the water when boiling peanuts. I look at the movement of the peanuts in the water when setting the burner. Higher temperatures will speed the softening of the peanuts, as inside a pressure cooker. A non pressurized pot of boiling water will only get so hot, limited by the boiling point of water at that altitude.

If you use a rolling boil in an open pot, you will need to replace the evaporating water more often, than if you simmer the peanuts in a covered pot or slow cooker. Be sure to top off the liquid as it boils away.

I like to insure the peanuts are simmering enough that they naturally move throughout the liquid. I may stir them periodically, to pick the ones I want to sample, or to remove empty shells and bad peanuts that I missed when I rinsed them.

If the water is hot, and the peanuts are in the hot water long enough, they will cook just fine. Do pay attention to the pot of simmering or boiling water, to insure safety. Don't walk away from a boiling pot. Stir them when you wish, and sample them often to decide when they are as soft as you like.

Let them soak in the brine as it cools, to fill the shells with the salty water, and to maximize the juicy flavor.

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