Recipes » Snack Recipes » Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

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5 from 2 votes
A true Southern delicacy - boiled green peanuts.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours

Boiled Peanuts – green peanuts cooked in a salty brine. They’re a little salty, a little earthy, a lot delicious! A real southern delicacy.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in a small community in southwest Georgia. A very small community. The entire population of my home county is about 6,100 and the population of the county seat, the only town in the county, is about 2,000. That’s small. The next nearest town is 15 miles away and it is only slightly larger than my hometown.

Boiled Peanuts - a little salty, a little earthy, a lot delicious! A real southern delicacy. https://www.lanascooking.com/boiled-peanuts/

I am inextricably bound to that little town and the people there. It is as much a part of me as I am of it. No matter where I go, no matter where I live, that tiny little town will always be home.

Up until I was in the third grade, my family lived about ten miles out of town on our farm. Even after we moved to “town,” Daddy continued to farm for many more years. Daddy raised cows and pigs and he grew mostly corn and peanuts. As a matter of fact, everyone I knew grew peanuts.

Back in those days, peanuts were a big money crop. If you had a good year with your peanuts, you did quite well. Even the people who didn’t farm were in some way dependent on peanuts. If the farmers did well, the merchants did well. If you didn’t farm and weren’t a merchant, you probably worked for one of the peanut processing plants. All intertwined and all hoping for a good peanut crop year after year.

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Peanuts Aren’t Actually Nuts

Did you know that peanuts are not actually nuts? They’re legumes. In the same family as beans and lentils. And they grow underground.

Peanut harvesting begins in early to mid-September each year. When the peanuts are ready to harvest, the farmers use machines that dig the plants up and invert them on top of the ground. The peanuts are left to dry for a time on top of the ground before harvesting begins.

Large peanut combines are driven up and down the rows of inverted peanuts. The combine picks up the plants, separates the vines from the peanuts, drops the vine back down on the ground, and propels the peanuts up and into a large container on the back. Once the container, or “hopper,” is full, the peanuts are dumped into special trailers. The trailers are pulled two or three at a time out of the field and taken to the local processing plant.

The Peanut Lullaby of Childhood

I can remember the sound of the peanut dryers running day and night at the peanut processing plants during peanut season. You could hear them from anywhere in town. They were the lullaby we fell asleep to on fall nights.

And the smell! Right now, if I close my eyes, I can imagine the smell of freshly dug peanuts. It’s the most fresh, earthy smell you can imagine.

A little while ago I was driving toward home and suddenly I smelled that freshly dug peanut smell! Sure enough, I rounded the next curve in the road and there was a field of peanuts being picked. I felt like a little girl coming home.

Boiled Peanuts – What a Delicacy!

Part of living in a peanut growing area is the joy of eating Boiled Peanuts. They are truly a “southern thing” and I understand that some people outside of the south don’t find them very appealing. That’s okay — more for me! 

If you want to make boiled peanuts, you will need “green” peanuts. Green peanuts are peanuts that have recently been dug and haven’t dried out or been roasted.

I vividly remember Daddy bringing home stacks and stacks of fresh peanuts still on the vines every fall. Mama, me, and my sisters would pick the peanuts off the vines, then wash them well and Mama would cook them up for us to enjoy.

Where I live now I don’t have access to really fresh green peanuts, but one of the local grocery stores occasionally has them in the produce department. When I saw them there on my last trip, I just had to have some.

How to Make Boiled Peanuts

Raw green peanuts for Boiled Peanuts

There are several varieties of peanuts and I saw at least three different types in this one bag. The small ones with the red skins are Spanish peanuts. The rounded, plump ones – like ballpark peanuts – are Virginia peanuts, and the long ones with 3 or more peanuts in a shell are Valencias or Runners.

I’m sure this is far more than anyone ever wanted to know about peanuts and peanut production! But, hey, now you know something that maybe you didn’t before, right?

Let’s get these peanuts boiling!

Wash the peanuts well to make sure all the dirt is dislodged. I usually fill the sink, dump the peanuts in and agitate them.

Clean peanuts ready to make Boiled Peanuts

Place the peanuts in a very large pot and add water to cover the peanuts by 1 inch or more. I used my crockpot this time so that I could just leave them alone to cook while BeeBop and I went out shopping. Worked like a charm!

Add salt to Boiled Peanuts

Add the salt and stir well. Yes, it really does take a lot of salt to flavor the peanuts. However, a huge amount of the salt gets discarded with the cooking brine.

Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until done. Start testing for doneness after about 4 hours. The peanuts should have a soft, but not mushy, texture. Cook longer if needed. Sometimes it takes 6 or more hours for the peanuts to cook.

After the peanuts are done, drain the brine and store the peanuts in the refrigerator (if there are any left!). Don’t let them sit in the brine. They will get too salty.

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Boiled Peanuts - a little salty, a little earthy, a lot delicious! A real southern delicacy.  https://www.lanascooking.com/boiled-peanuts/

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Boiled Peanuts

A true Southern delicacy – boiled green peanuts.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Snacks
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 1 gallon
Calories: 857kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon cleaned green peanuts
  • 1/2 cup salt do not faint – most of it gets discarded
  • Water

Instructions

  • Wash the peanuts well to make sure all the dirt is dislodged. I usually fill the sink, dump the peanuts in and agitate them.
  • Place the peanuts in a very large pot and add water to cover the peanuts by 1 inch or more.
  • Add salt and stir well. Remember that a huge amount of the salt gets discarded with the cooking brine.
  • Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until done. Start testing for doneness after about 4 hours. The peanuts should have a soft, but not mushy, texture. Cook longer if needed. Sometimes it takes 6 or more hours for the peanuts to cook.
  • After the peanuts are done, drain the brine and store the peanuts in the refrigerator. Don’t let them sit in the brine as they'll become too salty.

Notes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 857kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 52g | Sodium: 4136mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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50 Comments

  1. BE STILL MY HEART!!!
    Boiled peanuts are the ultimate fall southern weekend treat. I still adore boiled peanuts. Although we grumbled mightily when we had to pick them off the vines, and wash them about 40 times, the finished product was well worth the effort.

    I am going to get the last bag out of my freezer tonight, enjoy, and think of you!

    Miss P

  2. I am from Chennai, India. Boiled peanuts is a hot favorite in my family. I absolutely love them and so does my 2 year old daughter. We have our own farms and I remember my best time was sitting down with my father and yanking those fresh muddy peanuts out of the moist soil and eating them right there. :D

    I am now in New Hampshire and I can’t find a single store that sells fresh green peanuts. It’s either roasted peanuts or raw dried ones.

  3. What a fun post, Lana. And a trip down Memory Lane for me. I learned to love boiled peanuts when I was a new bride visiting my Tifton, GA in-laws. Great with cocktails. Used to be able to find them canned in the grocery stores ‘down there’, too. Went to college in Macon @ Wesleyan, lived in Stone Mtn and lastly in “All-benny” before moving back home to Delaware after the d-i-v-o-r-c-e. Question: can you use “RAW” peanuts? Thanks for the really cool peanut history – I think Tifton is a big peanut spot as well.

  4. I LOVE boiled peanuts. I grew up in the peanut capital of the world, Dothan, Alabama. I’m married to a man from Texas, and he can’t get the southern pronunciation right. He keeps calling them “bawled peanuts” as if they had something to do with the Texas “awl bidness”. An important bit of info you surely need to know (try not to be too overwhelmed with it all): I was in the first National Little Miss Peanut Contest. I know–hard to take in the honor of knowing me! LOL!!! So glad to have found your site. Looking forward to getting your recipes.
    Blessings…

  5. Thank you. Peanut, I love and love it. The earthy smell is amazing. I was born in a small town in southern Turkey. As I was a little girl my grand mother used too cook this way as well. Now I live in U.K. and miss the fresh green peanuts.

  6. From the description, I thought you lived in the town of Cuthbert. That was my father’s mother’s family town for over 100 years.

    The recipe for boiled peanuts is just right. So many people do not know the best recipe. Make sure they are green peanuts (fresh or, if must, frozen in water) & not those big ones. The regular size peanuts are best. My husband cooks them & we (plus my daughter) can go through a gallon in just a couple of hours.

    1. I grew up a little further south in Colquitt (Miller County). However, I had a great aunt who lived in Cuthbert and was the post master there for many years.

  7. Hi Lana, great intro to the peanuts! I grew up in Malaysia (South East Asia region) and my mom used to make boiled peanuts this way too! Sometime we get green peanuts in farmers market or asian groceries here in San Francisco. :)

  8. Great story! I defnitely learned a few things about peanuts today ;-)
    Never knew you could boil them, for a start, and legumes? Who knew. ;-)
    I doubt if we will ever find green peanuts in South Africa, but I wil sure try them if I ever travel to the USA.

    1. Hi Anneri – I’m glad I could teach you something about peanuts! I don’t know if you have green peanuts in South Africa, either, but I hope you get to try them some day!

  9. Just found your blog today and love it. My grandparents lived in Statesboro, Ga. and were peanut farmers! I adore boiled peanuts! This was an excellent post!

  10. i just found your receipe for boiled peanut. My daddy grew them in Leslie, Ga. we used to boiled them and put in the frezzer for the winter and summer time. until they came back in the fall. sure do miss those times, and the country side.

  11. Saw a recipe in magazine today. Came home to research tea cake recipes. Found yours and description of town where you grew up, then went to boiled peanuts. Amazing. I am from Baker County, went to school in Colquitt and Damascus. Love boiled peanuts. Find them in farmer’s market here in Virginia Beach. Their early ones come from Georgia and are the best. Your recipe sounds just like the way I boil mine. Don’t like them too salty.

    1. Hi Patricia. Isn’t it amazing how people “find” each other on the internet! You wouldn’t believe how often I hear from someone from southwest Georgia looking for those old familiar recipes. I’m so glad you stopped by and hope you’ll visit again.

  12. Thanks, Lana for sharing your memories

    I grew up in France and for some reasons I have always been fascinated by peanuts. Maybe because one of my favorite superheroes when I was a kid got his strength from eating peanuts. Who knows…
    I love your peanut story and your blog in general. You have a very warm, lovely sense of humor and your recipes look wonderful. I like the way you defend your southern culinary traditions ( we French people do that too…:) ).

    Thanks again

    Jacky

  13. Wow I lived about 10 miles from Colquitt. It was in that little place called Hentown. My folks owned Whites Grocery I used to work sometimes with my dad there when I wasn’t in school.

  14. That little town you described sounds like Blakely, Ga. I miss boiled peanuts and used to eat them all the time.

  15. Hi, Lana
    i liked your recipes , specially this one !you know why ?I’m form South India it is our loving and yam food in peanut season. thanks for sharing. thanks a lot

  16. Yay!! Another winner for football games! I looooove boiled peanuts! Definitely bookmarking your blog! My hometown is Hephzibah, Georgia =)