Making boiled peanuts at home
In the South, perhaps no other food makes you feel like you’re at a sporting event like boiled peanuts.
It’s a 5-star snack that you never find in your home pantry, but it’s one of the top items on the menu as soon as you enter the gates of a football stadium. Those salty and soft peanuts with a cold beverage in your hand … we’ll that’s football season to me.
Here’s the good news: Boiled peanuts are surprisingly easy to make at home — and even better you can easily make them in bulk to feed a crowd if y’all are watching the game on TV. They’re an ideal appetizer for your friends and family that can be consumed slowly and steadily for hours.
The first step is buying the peanuts: You’ll need to go to the produce department of Kroger or your local grocery story and find a bag of raw, green peanuts. Sometimes they can be hard to find because they’re seasonal, so you may want to call ahead. If you can’t find them, then home chefs often sub with shelled unsalted peanuts or raw peanuts.
How do you make them? Let’s follow the recipe from the National Peanut Board:
- 1 bag of raw, green peanuts in shell
- Cajun Seasoning, if desired (to me, the “secret ingredient” with 2-3 tablespoons)
Put one cup of salt per gallon of water in a big pot. Add the Cajun seasoning, if desired. Add the raw peanuts. Cover and bring the peanuts to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 4 to 6 hours, or until the peanuts are very tender. To test, open the shell and taste. Turn off the heat and transfer the peanuts to a large clean bowl. Serve immediately or store them in jars or sealable bags with some of the cooking liquid to keep them moist. They should keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
Same random notes:
- The directions say one cup of salt per gallon. You can (1) adjust the ratio if you’re using a smaller pot and (2) I tend to use a little less salt … maybe ¾ cup.
- The ingredients say 1 bag of peanuts — not defining the size of the bag. So it appears you have a lot of freedom here. Just make sure you have enough water to cover the amount of peanuts you put in the pot. And obviously you want to periodically monitor the simmer in case you need to add water.
- The longer you cook, the softer they get.
- Most people like them warm, so it’s a great hot appetizer to cook and serve on game days. They’re also quite good when cold, so if you need to make them in advance and store in the refrigerator that will work fine, too.
For my boiled peanuts, I like to make them in an electric pressure cooker: It cuts down the cooking time dramatically, and also provides a nice storage space to keep them warm for serving for the entire day.
Once you get the basic recipe down, it’s fun to experiment with different recipes, adding spices such as crushed red pepper, garlic powder, liquid smoke, and many other spices you may love.