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North Carolina has a rich history of peanut farming. Wade Ellison, admittedly, doesn’t know much of it. A Washington state native, he moved to Tarboro, N.C. 19 years ago. It wasn’t long before a farmer friend gave him some still-on-the-vine, green peanuts. Ellison had no idea what to do with them.
Today’s a different story. Ellison is boiling well enough to feed large parties.
His top tips for boiling peanuts?
1. Start with green peanuts if possible. Keep them in a cool, dark place, wash and cook within a week of picking. If green peanuts aren’t available, raw (dry) peanuts are a close second and work well if they’re soaked in water overnight to put moisture back in.
2. Once peanuts are in the pot (or turkey fryer if you’re Ellison and dealing with 25 pounds), boil for about an hour and a half in salt water, he says. (He uses rock salt.) Don’t get carried away adding salt as they cook. Instead, boil for about 1.5 hours or to desired tenderness. Then turn the heat off and let ‘em sit, soaking up the salty water. Keep sampling the peanuts until they reach desired salt level. (It could take up to 3 hours.)
“You know, they’re not good if you don’t open ‘em up and get squirted half the time,” he laughs. “They’re kind of juicy. That’s what you want. Soaking is the key to that.”
Serve ‘em: If you don’t serve them hot, cold rinse before you store. You can refrigerate for a few days or freeze for up to six months in freezer bags. Later, heat them up in salted water and serve for the big game! For a group of 10, you’ll need about five pounds of peanuts. And still look to boil for time mentioned above; cook time is the same no matter the quantity.
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