| ||1½ || cups salt, plus more to taste |
| ||4 || gal. water, plus more as needed |
| ||2 || lb. raw peanuts in the shell |
- In a 3-gallon stockpot, dissolve ½ cup of salt in 2 gallons of water and add the peanuts. (The peanuts will float, but you can keep most of them submerged by using a dinner plate as a cap.) Allow the peanuts to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
- Discard the soaking water. Fill the pot with 2 gallons of fresh water and the remaining cup of salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook at a low boil, covered, for 5 to 8 hours. Keep the water in the pot at roughly the same level with hourly additions of 2 cups water until the peanuts are soft. (South Carolina-style peanuts are very soft, but some cooks prefer them al dente.)
- When the peanuts have boiled for 3 hours, check them for texture and saltiness. Allow a peanut to cool, then crack open the shell to get at the kernels inside. If you find them too salty, remove some brine with a ladle or small pot and replace it with an equal amount of fresh water. If the peanuts are not salty enough, add salt in ¼-cup increments, turn off the heat, and let them soak for an hour to absorb the salt. If the peanuts are too crunchy for your taste, boil on. It can take as long as 12 hours if you prefer them mushroom-soft. Sample them every hour.
- When the peanuts are cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and cool for 1 hour. Drain and eat immediately or store (in the shell) in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Boiled peanuts will keep for a week in the refrigerator, and for several months in the freezer.
Copyright © 2006 W. W. Norton & Company