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Southern Boiled Peanuts

Makes about 5 cups

If you live in the southern United States, chances are you have eaten boiled peanuts. Raw peanuts in their shells are boiled in salted water, producing a soft and salty nut. I must admit they were never one of my favorite snacks, but I decided to make them so that I could pass on the recipe and, as with most foods, homemade are much tastier than store-bought. If it sounds a bit odd, just keep in mind that the peanut is a legume related to beans, so cooking them in water makes sense. Depending on the amount of salt you use, boiled peanuts are a healthy treat.

Ingredients

Rinse the peanuts in cool water and drain several times, or until the water is clear. Place in a large pot. Cover with water and add the salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until soft, but not mushy, about 1 hour. (The amount of time it takes to cook the peanuts depends on the variety and freshness of the nuts. Check one after 30 minutes, and then occasionally thereafter. Taste for saltiness, adding a little more if desired. Southerners like them very salty but they do not need much. When the peanuts are done, you can let them sit in the water a little longer to soak up more of the salt.) Drain well and eat warm, room temperature, or cold.

Notes: Boiled peanuts will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to a year. To reheat, just place in boiling water until warm. Raw peanuts in the shell are readily available in southern states. If they are not available in your grocery store, try a local health food store or online source.