At long last, Hope & Harmony Farms’ Virginia peanut harvest is complete and I cannot tell you how satisfying the finish line feels! In order to celebrate a completed peanut harvest, I thought it would be good to take a moment to explain the difference between raw peanuts and green peanuts. It is really quite simple and easy to explain and I am always happy to spread a little Virginia peanut knowledge.
Simply put, raw peanuts are air-dried peanuts that hold the appropriate moisture content for storage—the ideal moisture content hovers around 10%. Raw peanuts are considered a produce and to maintain the best quality, raw peanuts are stored in a cool, dry place. For short-term storage, a few days, peanuts are kept at or below 60 degrees in a dry location. However, for long-term storage, peanuts are kept at 40 degrees or below in a dry location. To maintain freshness for an extended period of time, raw peanuts may be stored in a tightly closed container in the freezer. As with many raw agricultural food products, it is recommended that raw peanuts should be cooked before consumption.
Green peanuts are raw peanuts that have been freshly dug from the soil and no moisture has been removed. Therefore, they have very high moisture content—approximately 35% to 50%. Most die-hard boiled peanuts fans will say you can only use green peanuts for making boiled peanuts. This is false! Raw-in-shell peanuts can also be used for boiled peanuts. The only difference is an extended cooking time. Because green peanuts are only available during harvest season and are highly perishable, they must be refrigerated as soon as they leave the field.
Basic Boiled Virginia Peanuts:
1 1/2 cups salt, divided, plus more to taste (Get creative and use your favorite spices)
Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in 2 gallons water in a 3-gallon stockpot; add peanuts. Soak 8 hours or overnight.
You do not have to soak overnight, but it will reduce the cook time by several hours.
Drain water and refill pot with water and remaining cup of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 5 to 8 hours or until peanuts are tender. Add water as needed to keep peanuts covered; stir occasionally. When the peanuts have boiled 2-3 hours, check for texture and saltiness. If the peanuts are not salty or spicy enough for your preference, add salt or spice in 1/4-cup increments. Once you have your desired saltiness or flavor, turn off heat and let soak 1 hour. Check peanuts for seasoning every hour.
Once cool, drain and dig in! Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Boiled peanuts will keep up to 7 days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.