Boiled Peanuts

Until I moved to South Carolina fifteen years ago, I didn’t know the first thing about boiled peanuts. Being a Wisconsin native, my food options included things like cheese, corn, cheese, rhubarb, cheese, beef, and cheese. Boiled peanuts were as foreign as sushi to this farm girl, perhaps even more so. I’d never tasted, smelled or viewed a boiled peanut. I certainly had no idea they had the flavor and texture of a salty seed bean, or that they could be so addictive. Though, there are people who disagree. People either love them or they hate them, it seems.

Throughout the South, boiled peanuts can be found at roadside stands, flea markets, gas stations, and even in cans on grocery store shelves. I’ve never had canned boiled peanuts, but I don’t recommend them for first time boiled peanut eaters. It just doesn’t seem right. I prefer boiled peanuts fresh from the vendor, slowly simmered in the open air. There’s nothing quite as comforting as a Styrofoam cup of salty goober peas packed in a paper bag. Almost sounds illegal, doesn’t it? Well, take it from this transplanted southerner, eating from a bagged cup of boiled peanuts adds a little somethin’ Southern to a weekend drive through the countryside.

I’ve introduced many of my “Yankee” friends and family to boiled peanuts with little applause. Only one or two of them acknowledged liking them, and probably only because they didn’t want to disappoint me. That’s okay. More for me!

Recently, I tried my hand at making boiled peanuts. Preparation requires time and patience, but not a lot of talent. Basically, if you’re good at watching a kettle boil, you will be able to make a great batch of boiled peanuts! The recipe only calls for three ingredients… raw/green peanuts (make sure they are raw and not roasted), salt and water.


2 to 3 pounds fresh green peanuts
1 cup salt
water to cover

Rinse peanuts. Put the peanuts and the salt in a large stockpot. Cover completely with water. Let the peanuts soak in the water overnight. If you prefer to bypass the overnight soak, bring them to a boil on the stove and allow them to boil for three minutes. Remove them from the heat, cover and let them sit for 2-3 hours. After soaking, put them on the stove and bring to a boil again. Simmer for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. When the peanuts are soft (the actual peanut, not the shell), they are done. If they are still slightly crunchy, continue to boil them. When they are done, drain and serve immediately. They can be refrigerated for several days.


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2 thoughts on “Boiled Peanuts

  1. Love this post and love your wonderful writing style. Boiled peanuts on the other hand, not so much.

    I lived in Florida for seven years and I recall seeing signs for boiled peanuts everywhere. My mother-in-law, Mary, adored the nuts but I never acquired a taste for them myself. I guess you could say that I was one of the haters. Sorry. . .

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