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Boiled Peanuts


1½ cups salt, divided, plus more to taste

2 pounds raw peanuts in the shell


  1. In a 10- to 12-quart stockpot, stir ½ cup salt into 2 gallons water until salt dissolves. Add raw peanuts. Use a large dinner plate to help submerge floating peanuts. Allow to soak for 8 hours or overnight. (This step saves a little time boiling, and thus fuel, but if you don’t have the luxury of time, skip this step.)
  2. Drain soaking water and fill the pot of peanuts with 2 gallons fresh water and remaining cup of salt. Note level of water on side of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 6–8 hours, keeping water in the pot within an inch or so of its original level with regular additions of water, until peanuts are soft as a roasted chestnut or softer.
  3. When peanuts have boiled for 3 hours, sample to check texture and salinity. Remove a peanut; when it is cool enough to handle, crack open shell and give the kernel a chew, slurping some brine with it. If the peanut crunches, it should be cooked further. If the brine lacks enough salt, add by ¼-cup amounts; if it is too salty, remove a portion of the water and replace with the same volume of fresh water. Allow 1 hour for salinity to equalize before testing again. Sample every hour until peanuts are pleasantly yielding and as salty and appetizing as a good pickle.
  4. When peanuts are cooked to your satisfaction, turn off heat and allow to cool in the pot for 1 hour. When cool, drain and eat immediately or store in the shell, in a sealed container, in the refrigerator or freezer. (Boiled peanuts will keep for 7–10 days in the refrigerator and for several months in the freezer.)
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