COOK'S CORNER: Peanuts pefected by boiling

Published 9:03 am Wednesday, September 5, 2007

By Staff
As promised, this week's recipes will be for varieties of boiled peanuts.
When I mentioned to co-workers that idea, Lydia had the nerve to ask me what I could possibly say other than to put peanuts in a pot and boil them.
She has certainly lived a sheltered life. She had no idea there were so many varieties of boiled peanuts. When I told her there were such things as Cajun peanuts, garlic peanuts and others, she was a little astonished.
My family has had boiled peanuts for many years. I can remember as a child sitting under the shade tree just outside the garden area and pulling peanuts from their vine. We would sit for hours and pull those little jewels from the vine and throw them into a pot.
After the pulling was completed, my daddy would wash those peanuts two or three times in big washtubs. The cleaned peanuts, or penders, were placed in a huge black wash pot and a fire was started underneath. After the water came to a boil, he would instinctively know just how much salt to add to the pot to make the peanuts perfect after they finished cooking.
As an adult, I had a hard time coming up with just the right ratio of salt and peanuts. I either had them too salty or not salty enough. Many times I have had to soak completely cooked peanuts in clean water just to draw out some of the saltiness.
When I really got down to business with this whole boiled peanut thing, I started asking for advice. The place where I typically buy peanuts usually passes out a few boiled peanuts for customers to enjoy while waiting for their peanuts to be weighed up. They are delicious and just the right amount of saltiness to suit my taste. I asked the man for his ratio of salt to peanut so that I could duplicate it, if possible. I tried his methods and it works perfectly for my family.
If you are beginning to take care of your peanut boiling for the season, you may find the recipes here suitable for your peanut boilings.
Most of the time, you'll need to have a really large part to boil peanuts in. You'll need room for the peanuts and plenty of water. You may even find that you need room to add more water as the peanuts boil. It takes a pretty good while to boil peanuts to a tender stage. Therefore, you'll need to have some patience and plenty of time.
I have also discovered that testing peanuts for saltiness while they are cooking is useless. The advice I have been given is to only taste for saltiness once the peanuts have cooled. My peanut seller told me that the peanuts only absorb the salt as they begin to cool. I think that may have been where I was making my mistake during my early days of boiling peanuts.
Boiled Peanuts
10 lbs. green peanuts
1 cup rock salt
water to cover
Place peanuts in pot and add water to cover. Bring water to a boil. Add salt. Boil until peanuts are tender. The complete process could take 1-2 hours, depending on the intensity of the fire. Remove from heat and allow to cool in pot. Eat and enjoy.
If you're not into standing over an open fire to cook your peanuts, there are other methods.
This next recipe for boiled peanuts calls for cooking them in a slow cooker. This is an easy way to get the peanuts done without constant stirring and testing. You probably won't even have to add more water as they cook. But, just so you know, this is not my preferred method of cooking peanuts. If you like to boil your peanuts the old fashioned way, you can simply add the crab boil and peppers to the water in your pot.
Cajun Peanuts
5 pounds raw peanuts, in shells
1 (6 ounce) package dry crab boil
1 (4 ounce) can sliced jalapeno peppers, with liquid
Place peanuts in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with dry crab boil. Cover with water. Stir in sliced jalapeno peppers and their liquid. Cover the slow cooker, and cook the peanuts on low 8 hours, or overnight, until peanuts float to the top of the water.
There are also other varieties of boiled peanuts that you may find interesting. If you like the flavor of garlic, you're sure to like this next recipe. I've never tried this one, but I do think this may be one I try this year.
Garlic and Onion Peanuts
1 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, cut into wedges
30 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds raw peanuts, in shells
1/2 pound salt
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook until softened and transparent, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peanuts and salt to the onion mixture. Fill the pot with water until the peanuts are submerged, and use a large colander fitted into the pot to hold them under water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, and simmer. Check the water level, and when it reaches the level of the peanuts, add more. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring the peanuts to a boil; the lower heat to medium, and simmer. Repeat steps until peanuts are soft, 4 to 6 hours. Drain, and serve hot or cold.
I hope that you get some good ideas for giving your boiled peanuts a little zing this season.
Since the peanut season is just getting underway, I'd really like to hear from you if you have any other ideas on how to spice up this boiled treat. If you do have anything you'd like to share, give me a call or drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you. You can call me at 867-4876 or email me at
Until next week, Happy Cooking!

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