Cuties, ha? 😉 The humble peanut. That is a raw, dried, then boiled, in-shell Virginia Peanut.
Now, I rarely cook; it’s always when I have guests. My adventures with peanuts started two Summers ago! Yep. I’ve had some of these pics since then. So please forgive me if this post is sort of jumbled and all over the place! I know I’ve repeated myself a few times…sorry.
Anyway, I came across some organic peanuts, needed to prepare something, and figured it was a sign to get this post up! I was surprised to learn they can sometimes be found at farmers markets.
“Healthy” Peanuts — yes, our peanuts should be healthy. We don’t want sicky peanuts! Luckily, ETLers don’t consume peanut butter, anyway, don’t have to worry about that contamination. Organic peanuts, however, are a better choice; and boiled peanuts are healthful like all legumes, including beans and peas.
SO, enter Boiled Peanuts — or rather, “Bawld Peanuts”! 😀 A proud, Southern tradition. Unfortunately, boiled with loads (and I mean, “loads” of salt). If you are accustomed to low- or no-salt, then you will have no problem making them without; and you can spice them, as I describe later.
The traditional, is very basic: fresh, raw, “green” unshelled peanuts, boiled for several hours with salt. Some add some hot chile peppers!
Here are unshelled, organic, raw (dried — impossible to find fresh!) peanuts soaking:
Peanuts, boiled (crockpot):
They should be thoroughly cooked; these had a bite to them, but were cooked through:
Peanuts boiled, shelled — they look more like beans now, or Spanish peanuts:
The following two pictures were seasoned and cooked longer than the above (with their shells). You can see they look more thoroughly done. These had perfect texture; and now they look more beany 🙂 :
A look at another batch I made:
Though, baking at a low temperature at as low a temperature as you can should be okay. Then they can be eaten like the roasted variety.
Here is a closer look at one boiled and then dehydrated:
These are raw, soaked, and dehydrated at low temperatures to remain “raw”:
Noodles enjoys those 😉
This is the site that was most helpful while I did my little layperson’s “research.” I love the fierceness of pride evident in the comments of Southerners, haha. It’s a little sad, though, that some seem to be a bit defensive/ashamed of the drawl; but I understand it stems from outside cultural ignorance, which has deemed it to be. There’s nothing wrong with a regional “accents,” or any accent. Why are people so insistent upon focusing on minutiae of “differences”? Ridiculous. Why the need to always be “better than”? Okay, there’s my little off-topic peeve of the day :D.
After soaking peanuts, they need to be drained, rinsed and fresh water added to a pot (a pot if doing stovetop). Then they should be brought to a boil, heat lowered, then simmered covered. Online, I found varying instructions for timing — anywhere from 4-12. Paula Dean’s (yikes!) instructions mentioned to taste test for softness; if they still had a “bite,” then they were not done. So I assumed they had to be bean-like.
I do wonder, though, if salt in this case softens the peanuts…whereas s0me bean connoisseurs believe salt inhibits softening…hmm. Could be; however, I’d need to experiment with raw, green peanuts and dried raw, AND try with and without salt — any Southerners out there know about the salt thing?
Anyway, what I discovered is, It takes as long as it takes!
First time I made them, I simmered (first soaked, and in the crock) about 6 hours on “high,” and they had a tiny bite. I left them like that. I guess it’s a taste/texture preference thing as well as the state of the beans. Taste was really good! Really surprising was that they were slightly sweetish and didn’t need the salt one bit. It is “cook to taste,” basically. The softer, the better, for beans. The longer, cooked ones, are more savory and more bean-like in texture and taste. The ones with a bite were more peanut-flavored, in my opinion — delish, either way — but the dried, even though, raw, still take longer. And the quality of these legumes matter, just like any dried food.
If not soaking, they need longer cooking time. Up to 24 hours (in the crockpot), by some accounts!
Is that a — ?
Yep, you’re seeing that right: I was even able to do them in my Little Dipper! I thought it was just a warmer for fondues, etc.; but this little baby eventually simmers — at least mine did!
So a regular crockpot is what most of us use. But it’s good to know this little dipper works. I suggest starting with hot water, preferably boiling. Might make a nice travel companion for use in hotels 🙂 (Best not left unattended!).
I do not have a pressure cooker; but, from what I’ve read about them, they may possibly be the ideal way to cook these — they are a tough nut for sure! Some are traditionalists and will have nothing to do with anything but an old well-seasoned pot on a gas stovetop; others find the crockpot best for the long slow simmering; and still, some think the p.c.’s rock these ‘nuts!
These can be used like any other bean in recipes; the only difference being, having to use pre-cooked or almost-cooked peanuts. If you start with raw, shelled, they will need the many hours to cook and, obviously, your ingredients will turn to mush and be tasteless/useless! But that adjustment shouldn’t be too difficult to figure; it would be just like adding canned beans to a recipe (more on shelled below).
Or try the following recipe for a finger food, edamame-like dish as described above — a healthier Cajun version of “Southern Boiled Peanuts.” 😀
Cajun Boiled Peanuts
This is my adaptation based on a basic recipe all over the web. None provide the amount of water needed — just “to cover,” which doesn’t work because they float! You can wing it or start with @ 6-8 C or whatever looks right to you, in a large pot or whatever fits in your crock (crockpot recommended, or experiment with your pc — and let me know how it worked!!) You should be checking it occasionally, to make sure it doesn’t run dry anyway, since the shells soak up a lot of water (more if you don’t soak before cooking).
The original recipes call for an extraordinary amount of salt. So I think, reducing the amount of peanuts OR, adding more seasonings, such as a few garlic cloves, using a good veg stock, spices, etc., will bump up the flavor that salt usually enhances for dulled palates. As a low-salt or no-salt ETLer, you will have no problem with it without salt 😉
Boiled peanuts leaves you with lots of freedom to adjust to your taste and do some experimenting with other flavorings — how about a nice bbq-flavored? That might be nice for Summer.
Cajun Boiled Peanuts
1 1/2 lbs. Un-shelled Organic Virginia Peanuts, raw
1 bag of Zatarain’s Crab and Shrimp Boil ( see pic; it’s vegan, no salt) OR other favorite brand of Cajun seasonings, OR your own mixture.
Water to soak
Broth to cook (or water)
Spices, Vegetables, Herbs, Etc., if desired (Old Bay-LIKE Seasoning(s) for example is nice; Old Bay contains salt, unfortunately) Optional
You don’t have to soak, but I recommend it. Do rinse.
Soak un-shelled peanuts (at least 12) for 24 hours. Drain rinse, drain.
Add an ample amount of good-tasting light broth to the peanuts in a pot (seasoned with additions as mentioned above, if you wish). Bring to a boil. Cover. Simmer, checking occasionally for broth evaporation, adding more as needed.
Or add to crock pot along with hot broth and set to “high.” Check after 6 hours or so; If it needs longer, (which is most likely will, continue cooking and check again in a few hours, etc.
Continue “till done.” Again, it’s gonna take what it takes; you can’t rush a bawl p-nut 🙂 If you soak, they will be done faster. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s almost impossible to over cook boiled peanuts!
Taste. They should be very soft like beans. Decide.
The flavor improves as they sit, as well; so they will be even better the next day after soaking in the broth in the fridge overnight. They also soften further if you let them sit after cooking for a day.
You can serve them in a bowl with their broth; as a side dish; or as a sort of starter type dish, like you would a bowl of un-shelled edamame — drained or not.
STore in the fridge with broth; or freeze without broth.
I read online someone said, “And with each peanut you crack open, you may find a small amount of the briny, spicy juice inside as special treat” True! And it is a nice treat.
So a nice finger food 🙂
Here is the Zatarain’s you want, found in regular markets (or a comparable one, if you prefer):
I use my homemade hemp bags in place of the plastic cooking bag the spices come in above. You can use a similar, cloth tea bag, or you probably have some cheesecloth, if you don’t want the plastic (both can be found in some markets):
This next pic shows (a smaller amount I made previously) some cajun peanuts that I stored in a mason jar for the fridge; they soaked up a lot of the broth, some of it being inside the shells, and some of it evaporated. You can use any leftover broth for other soups or for steaming greens, etc.
Unlike the salted boiled peanuts, these don’t need to be drained for storage, if you don’t want to. The reason to drain is mostly because they will continue to absorb salt and become inedible (as if salted weren’t already 😉 ). So, for the cajun, I like to keep them in the broth when I store in the fridge; you choose. For freezing, I drain.
Shelled peanuts, soaked and drained.
The following were cooked shelled peanuts (stovetop). Interestingly, they still took a very long time to cook (unsoaked AND soaked); I had assumed they would be much faster. These took over 16 hours, stovetop and still had a teensy bite. I’ve read some accounts online (referring to peanuts with the shells on), where people state they prefer the texture they get from crock potting with these too. Many factors play in to getting ANY beans to cook properly; so peanuts are no different!
One of the ideas is that one must use “green” peanuts. Purists consider these, which are fresh, raw, peanuts, to be the only true “bawld” peanut 😀 . So, according to them, using the green eliminates a lot of the cooking issues too. I’ve looked for them and not found them organic; but, for me, I’ll swap the “authenticity” for the safety and quality of organic (especially with peanuts! Where’s “I’ll never lie to you” Jimmy Carter when you need him?!!) The green ones cook faster just like any other legume, and, yea, probably taste better too. And this is why some recipes will state they only need 4 hours or so to cook. (If anyone knows a source for organic green peanuts, PLEASE let me know!)
Each time I cook peanuts — whether in shell or out; whether stovetop or crock, soaked or un-soaked — the time differs. So don’t worry if you need to cook longer. It is for this reason, I have come to conclude that it’s best to use pre-cooked peanuts or almost-cooked peanuts in recipes where you are subbing for another legume. The unpredictability, and generally long cooking time required (regardless of the peanut) just makes this a smart bet.
The broth of the boiled peanuts (both with and without shells), itself, makes a nice broth. (Strain the broth of unshelled peanuts for little bits of shell debris.) It contains some of the oils released from the peanuts, adding flavor, too, which you can see here:
Here are some more pics of the beans:
Looks yummy even plain!
You can flavor these as you wish. They blend well, too, and can be used like any other bean.
I also decided to make a stew out of the cooked shelled peanuts. This is something I “winged” so don’t have a specific recipe. This is not the finished soup — I added GREENS (!!!) which are fantastic with peanuts (spinach is good) and fresh veggies later;but no photos of the completed stew. But, again, you can just use (pre-cooked) peanuts in any of your bean recipes. The fragrance of boiling peanuts is yummy, itself!
Yes, this is a vegan stew 😉
*** Basic Boiled (dried) Peanuts ***
Can be made stovetop:
or in a crock, shelled:
Basic (dried) Boiled Peanuts:
1 lb raw shelled peanuts OR 1 1/2 lbs. unshelled
Ample water, to start (more as needed)
On HI crockpot anywhere from 6-24 hours (Yep!)
Stovetop – bring to a boil and lower to a steady low-med simmer, continuously “till done,” replenishing water as needed. These take a long time; so prepare for double digits.
And, of course, if you are lucky enough to have access to fresh peanuts, they will cook much faster.
My crockpot actually boils, I’d say at medium, if not completely full, and at least a good simmer. I used to think it was defective because it boiled; however, I’ve learned to work with it. What I do know is that peanuts need to be at a “good” simmer,continuously in order to cook through. Stovetop works, but is a huge energy waster. I like the crockpot better.
Unfortunately, I can’t give any thoughts on pressure cooking; seeing as they are extremely long-cooking legumes, no matter how you do it, it’s going to take time. As well, it could be, like any legume or bean, that the ones I got were old which makes them take longer to cook. Altitude, weather, etc., also contribute to any bean’s cooking time. AND, these were dried, raw; not fresh “green” raw.
~ *** ~
Some other things you may want to try with boiled peanuts:
Toss the boiled drained beans with date sugar, cinnamon and other spices and dehydrate or bake at the lowest temp you can:
You can also coat them with pureed dates and toss in a spice mixture and minced nuts, coconut, or sesame or other seeds — just like you’d treat other nuts.
And, of course they can be blended.
One thing you might try is using it in place of (or as part of) the peanut butter called for in stirfry sauces, for example; I know Dr. Fuhrman has a stirfry recipe. Some people use almond butter for the peanut butter in that recipe; so either sub it completely or maybe 1/2 boiled blended peanuts and 1/2 almond butter. Mincing some of the peanuts Probably the dried ones would be best) as well, will give a slight peanutty taste and the texture of chunky peanut butter whether you use the creamed peanuts or just the almond butter. If anyone tries it in a sauce, let me know if it was peanutty enough 😀 With peanuts, there really is no replacing the flavor of roasting, so don’t expect that!
If you happen to have any ideas or come up with anything yourself, let me know :D. Or if you’re a Southerner with some thoughts (or critiques!) your comments are welcomed! Until then, enjoy this Southern comfort delight — “Bawww –” err, “Boiled” Virginia Peanuts 🙂