COOK'S CORNER: Roasting peanuts is an art

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By Staff
I have certainly gotten a lot of comments on the boiled peanut recipes that I shared with you last week - and I love it.
I had a gentleman caller ask if I really meant to put &#8220rock salt” in my directions for good boiled peanuts. I assured him it was not a mistake. I also told him that he couldn't go wrong using that recipe.
As a matter of fact, I finally got down to see my friends at Holland Farms. Their place is located on Hwy. 87 just a few miles south of Berrydale Crossroads. The friendly folks there are the ones that gave me the recipe that calls for using rock salt when boiling peanuts.
When I went into their place of business, I was greeted with the wonderful smell of freshly boiled peanuts. They are pretty famous for their boiled peanuts there and they are happy to share with anyone who walks in the door. As a matter of fact, I knew I was going to get a serving or two of those peanuts when I walked onto the front porch.
Before I could even mosey up to the counter, one of the men had scooped up a cup of peanuts for me and put them on the counter. It wasn't because they knew me - they do it for everyone who comes in.
I devoured my free cup of peanuts on the ride home. I was able to get my fresh, green peanuts onto cook in a matter of minutes after I got home. They were so clean and needed very little attention before being thrown into a large pot of water.
I have followed their advice and recipe for more than five years now and I've never been disappointed with the way my peanuts turn out. If you get a chance to boil your own peanuts, you won't be sorry if you give that a try. Just remember, it's one cup of rock salt to every 10 pounds of green peanuts.
My co-workers were pretty happy that I had boiled peanuts over the weekend. You could see peanut shells in every garbage can at work.
When we talked about the peanuts, Marilyn said she had her first taste of Cajun boiled peanuts over the weekend. Her son-in-law threw in a little crab boil as he boiled his batch of peanuts. She said they were pretty tasty. I may do that one my self.
With the green peanut season winding down somewhat, if you plan to boil some, you better get a move on. Those peanuts are great right now, but pretty soon they will be leaning toward the dried variety of the nut.
As a matter of fact, I've decided to give you a couple of recipes that might help you if some of your peanuts have dried out.
Roasting peanuts can be tricky. The main thing to keep in mind is to slightly undercook them in the oven. In the way the boiled peanuts only absorb the salt as they cool, roasted peanuts continue to roast even as they cool. This first method is the one most often used by homemakers. It's pretty foolproof and will give you great results.
Oven Roasted Peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place raw, dried peanuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. If you are roasting peanuts in the shell, bake them for 20 to 25 minutes. For shelled peanuts, roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the peanuts once or twice during cooking time. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating. Store unshelled roasted peanuts in an airtight container for up to a month on the shelf, six months in the refrigerator or up to 12 months in the freezer.
For those who may want to get the roasting done a little quicker, you may want to give this method a try. Roasting in the microwave certainly wouldn't be the most traditional way, but it is effective. The only thing is, for this method, you have to shell the peanuts. Unshelled peanuts won't work well with this method.
Microwave Roasted Peanuts
Place 2 cups of peanuts in a 10- by 16-inch glass baking dish. Dot with 2 teaspoons butter. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave on high another 2 minutes. Continue cooking and stirring every two minutes until slightly under desired doneness level. Peanuts continue to cook when removed from oven. Cook a total of 10 minutes for light roast or 12 minutes for darker roast. Let cool 10 minutes before eating. Store cooked shelled peanuts in an airtight container up to 3 months in refrigerator or 6 months in freezer.
Some good tips to follow when choosing peanuts for roasting are:
1. Choose unshelled peanuts that have clean, unbroken, unblemished shells that do not rattle when shaken.
2. 1-1/2 pounds of unshelled peanuts equals about 1 pound shelled or 3-1/2 to 4 cups.
3. Store unshelled raw peanuts in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 6 months.
Now if you're a true southerner, you may want to try frying some peanuts.
They taste pretty much the same as roasted peanuts, but you can make the taste change by sprinkling on different types of seasonings.
To fry peanuts, simply heat a pot of cooking oil to 375 degrees. Put peanuts in a fry basket or colander and fry for two minutes, or until they start to turn brown. When you take them from the oil, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
A variation on that is to sprinkle with garlic powder, cajun seasoning or any other seasoning you like.
Next week, I'll share some recipes that use roasted and dry peanuts. One of my favorite candies this time of year is peanut brittle. I have a great recipe I'll share with you on that next week.
If you have a good peanut recipe you'd like to share with us, please let me know. I'll give you full credit for the recipe. You can give me a call at 867-4876, drop your tips or recipes by the office at 407 St. Nicholas Ave., or shoot me an email at I'd love to hear from you - good or bad.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!

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