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Southern Culinary Arts: Boiled Peanuts

Updated on September 11, 2012

Culinary arts - southern food

Welcome to my online cooking school and online cooking classes! Today's culinary art is boiled peanuts. These delectable tidbits are a big hit with Southern food fans. In fact, even my "Yankee" friends love them!

I bet you already know that Georgia is famous for its peanuts, huh? After all, the U.S. had Jimma Cahta as president a while back. Remember? He was often called the “peanut president” or the “peanut farmer president” since he was, indeed, a cultivator of goobers.

We Georgians love our peanuts! All over the state, you’ll find peanut parades, peanut pageants, and peanut festivals. Just about every function that has booths that sell foods offer parched peanuts, peanut brittle, fried peanuts, roasted peanuts, peanut butter pie, chocolate covered peanuts, caramelized peanuts, or peanut butter cookies to the masses. Numero uno among all these ground pea products, however, is the boiled peanut.

Boiled peanuts is one of the best things about living in the South! And if you haven’t tasted fresh boiled peanuts grown in the South and prepared by a Southerner, you haven’t tasted real boiled peanuts. Those in the can can’t compare, nor can those great big tough peanuts I’ve eaten in “Yankee” states like North Carolina. Don't get me wrong - these peanuts are better than no boiled peanuts at all, for sure. But, no, I’m talking about the real deal – the kind of boiled peanuts you find in Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Here’s how it should be done, in the fashion of true Southern culinary arts:

The peanuts should be just pulled. Also, they have to be young and green. If some of the peanuts aren’t fully formed – good! Those are my favorites – the ones that are so soft after boiling that you can eat shell and all. These are usually called “pops.”

After you have a “mess” of peanuts, hose them down outside to remove most of the dirt. By the way, peanuts grow underground. Not everyone knows that. Some Northerners moved to Georgia several years ago to retire on a few acres. They had a huge garden that first year, which included a row of peanuts. When their Southern neighbor asked that fall how the garden had turned out, they replied that everything did pretty well except for the peanuts. They said the plants got big and green and bushy, but they never produced a single nut. These displaced city slickers didn’t know you had to dig peanuts!

Okay, back to the topic at hand. Bring the peanuts inside and rinse them in the sink with cool water until the water runs clear. Let the peanuts soak in cool water for about an hour.

Place the peanuts in a large pot that has a lid.

Cover the nuts with the salt solution – 1 ¼ cup of salt for every gallon of water. The salt water should cover the peanuts by two or three inches.

Put the lid on the pot and turn it on high. Once it boils, turn down the heat to medium-high and continue to boil for four hours, making sure the peanuts stay covered with water.

After four hours or so, taste one of the nuts. If it’s soft, it’s ready. If it’s not, continue cooking. Keep checking every fifteen minutes or so until the peanuts are soft and salty. Add more salt if needed. If the nuts get too salty, drain off the salt water and boil or soak the nuts in fresh water.

The boiled peanuts can be cooled and placed in freezer bags. Try to remove as much air from the bags as possible. They’ll keep in the freezer for several months.

Enjoy it, y’all!

Read more about culinary arts in my online cooking school and online cooking classes!

A favorite of Southern culinary arts!
A favorite of Southern culinary arts!

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    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      Growing up in Texas, my mom would boil peanuts for us. However, she would just buy raw peanuts from the store, and those were definately not green. Still we loved them. Next time I am driving to Alabama, I will stop for some boiled peanuts to see what I am missing. Great hub!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I can't wait to get some fresh green peanuts to boil, MFB! Thanks for visiting!

    • MFB III profile image

      MFB III 7 years ago from United States

      having lived in Savannah georgia for 4 years I grew to love Boiled peanuts. but they have ben absaenbt from my life for a long time. Guess I should get off my butt and get out of my yankee shell and cook up a mess of boiled peanuts following your recipe. I still eat collard, mustard and turnip greens, black-eyed peas and Okra, but I've got to get back to the meat of the matter....soft, nutty and delicious peanuts to complete my diet.LOL~~MFB III

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sometimes those aren't good, Sheila. They often use peanuts that are too big or old.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      I've travelled in the south and have seen the signs for boiled peanuts, and even looked in the pot a couple of times in the stores, but I never did try them. I thought they looked kind of old in the stores, and probably were. Your recipe sounds good. I'm sure I'd like them done that way.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Veronica! Now here's a GA girl who knows what's good!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      I loovvveee my boiled peanuts. I do think it is in the blood of us Georgians to enjoy this delicious treat. Unfortunately, since my little one is allergic to nuts, we can't have them in the house, but boy do I sure miss them.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Goobers, ground peas, ground nuts, pinders...whatever you call them, they're awesome when boiled!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Lockerman, I'm glad you discovered them and appeciate the awesome awesomeness of their awesomocity!!

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      goobers!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      I love boiled peanuts It is such a treat to get fresh ones.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Ah, Charlie - all the difference in the world!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Deb, make sure you look for green peanuts. Let me know!

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      I tried these once, yuck! Now I know they were boiled by the damn Yankees to the north of you. I am enlightened.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Habee, I have heard of them but never tasted them?I am going to look around here in California and see what I can come up with... Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Never heard of boiled peanuts?? I'm shocked!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Good morning, habee

      You always manage to tell me about a recipe that I never heard of. The peanuts sound wonderful!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, but HH, you've never tried them boiled! Totally different!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      RM, you have a good mama - bringing you the essentials for any true Southerner! lol

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Never had these. Unfortunately in the UK we only have salted peanuts that are far from fresh. Sound good though

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Whatever do you cook up next, habee, hahaha Sorry but peanuts are not my favourites but thank you for a good read.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      We have great boiled peanuts in SC too. When I was a kid one of my uncles raised peanuts. We'd get them by the bushels. We'd wash, and wash and wash them! I remember red dirt. Mom would boil them for the freezer. We'd also do dry roasted. We'd put them in a big cloth bag and put them on the patio in the sun everyday, turning them, to dry them out before finally roasting them in the oven. My whole military career, when Mom flew to see me, she's have a small carry-on cooler with 2 quarts of boiled peanuts and 2 quarts of BBQ pork!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Can you buy the green peanuts in the stores there??

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I LOVE boiled peanuts-ate them like crazy when I lived for a short while in Tampa. People out here on the West Coast think they sound so bizarre, but now with your recipe I can prove their yumminess!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yum! But I don't like to leave mine unrefrigerated for that long. It's probably fine, but I worry about food poisoning.

      Thanks for reading, Woody!

    • profile image

      Woody 7 years ago

      I cook mine in a 60 qt pot. 1/2 a bushel at a time. 1/2 box of salt, let them boil for 4-5 hours, tasting as they cook. when they are done, i turn the fire off, & let they soak for a good 8-12 hours. best to do at night so when you turn the fire off, you can go to bed & know you'll have some good peanuts the next day. put most in gallon bags & freeze for the football games & NASCAR racing on feb 14th!!!

      P.S. Beat the kids & wife to them because they will eat them fast!!!