Boiled peanuts are a popular Southern snack with higher levels of antioxidants than raw or roasted peanuts. Fortunately, you can make them at home without fancy equipment. Boiling peanuts can be a tedious process but worth it if done correctly — and one of the things that makes the difference with boiled peanuts is the length of time they cook.
You can boil peanuts for too long. Overboiled peanuts can become mushy and easily squashed even with light pressure. Although boiled peanuts are soft when done, cooking them for too long can give them a paste-like texture. You should also store them properly to maximize their shelf life.
Below, I’ll further discuss what you need to know about how long you should boil peanuts. I’ll also explain how to boil peanuts correctly, store boiled peanuts, and what you should check to make sure your boiled peanuts haven’t spoiled.
How Long Should You Boil Peanuts?
You should boil peanuts for at least 2 – 4 hours. If the peanuts are dried and raw, you should boil them for at least a day. In any case, the length of time you should boil peanuts depends on how soft and tender you want them.
You can experiment with the optimal length of time to boil raw peanuts. Bring them to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for two to four hours or more. To ensure your peanuts are the texture and tenderness you want, take out a nut or two while boiling and sample them — taking care not to burn yourself, of course.
To avoid boiling your peanuts for too long, set a timer or check on them regularly to make sure they aren’t mushy or paste-like. According to Panlasang Pinoy, the preferred peanuts for boiling are Virginia and Valencia jumbo peanuts because they’re easier to cook to your desired consistency.
How To Correctly Boil Peanuts
Boiling peanuts seems like a reasonably easy task. However, if you want the quality that’s more or less the same as the ready-made ones from stores, you want to perform the boiling process properly. Below are the steps to prepare and boil your peanuts correctly.
- Check whether you need to clean the peanuts. If you bought your peanuts prepackaged from the store, you don’t need to soak them before cooking.
- Clean your peanuts (if necessary). If you purchased your peanuts from a farmer’s market or roadside stand, you may want to wash them first as they could still have soil, grass, or leaves on them. Soak the peanuts with warm water until they’re free of debris. You can also scrub the peanuts with a vegetable brush or dishwashing brush to clean them thoroughly.
- Rinse the peanuts. Place the peanuts in a colander and rinse well with running water. As you rinse, stir the peanuts until the water runs clear.
- Place the peanuts in a pot of water. After cleaning your peanuts and removing any broken shells, place them in a pot with water. Make sure the water completely covers the peanuts.
- Add salt to the pot. Add about 1 cup (240 ml) of salt to your peanuts. Doing this will give them flavor as they soak. Be careful not to add more salt than necessary, as you’ll be adding spices later and the additional salt could give it a stronger taste than you like.
- Cover the pot and let the peanuts soak. Put the lid on and allow the peanuts to soak for six to eight hours or overnight. Doing this ensures they soften more quickly when boiled.
- Drain the water. After the peanuts have soaked, drain them using a colander.
- Put the peanuts back into the pot of water. Again, make sure the water completely covers the peanuts. Add your preferred seasonings to taste. Stir well.
- Bring the water to a boil. Put the pot with the peanuts on the stove, and set your stove to high heat. Once the pot is boiling, put the lid on and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the peanuts simmer for four to 10 hours or depending on how tender you want them. Stir and taste the peanuts every now and then.
- Strain the peanuts and enjoy once they’ve cooled down. Once your peanuts are done cooking, strain and let them cool before eating.
How To Store Boiled Peanuts
Since boiled peanuts have a high moisture content, they tend to spoil. Boiled peanuts can only last a day or so before going bad at room temperature, and raw peanuts last for an even shorter time. Therefore, you need to store them correctly to maximize their shelf life.
Store any leftover boiled peanuts in a ziplock bag, and put them in the fridge or freezer. The shelf life for refrigerated boiled peanuts is seven to 10 days, while frozen boiled peanuts can last even longer. Either way, however, the texture and taste will slowly degrade.
If you want to eat frozen peanuts, you have three options:
- Let them thaw in the fridge overnight
- Put them in the microwave
- Let the bag of peanuts sit in hot water for five to 10 minutes.
How To Know if Boiled Peanuts Have Gone Bad
If you don’t preserve your boiled peanuts correctly, they will quickly spoil due to their high oil content. Eating spoiled peanuts can make you sick. You will know your peanuts have gone rancid if they have one or more of the following signs.
- They become sour or bitter
- They become discolored or show signs of mold
- They smell like rotten milk
It’s better to be safe and throw out bad peanuts than risk you or your family’s health consuming them.
Ensure you don’t boil your peanuts longer than the recommended times (i.e., two to 24 hours) or more than they need to reach your desired texture. Since boiling peanuts takes a long time, you shouldn’t make too much considering their short shelf life. The moment they show signs of going bad, throw them out as soon as possible.