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Fresh Peanut Recipes

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How to store fresh peanuts: store in the fridge until you use them, they might well mold if left out uncooked.

from Chef Jonathan Miller:

We experimented with the fresh (green) peanuts today, with some surprising, and delicious, results.
For those of you not concerned with the details, my conclusion is that next time I have fresh peanuts, I will boil all of them for a delicious snack. It results in a very soft, bean-like peanut that is chestnut-like in flavor. Super, especially while still warm.

We also tried two different roasting methods, with differing results.
In-Shell Roasting: I took a long, low approach to this roast. 300 degrees for an hour, then I reduced the oven to 275 and roasted another hour. The outer shell roasted and dried up nicely, but the peanut inside basically steamed itself. The result was similar to a boiled peanut, but with a noticeably sweeter flavor, and not nearly as soft. Quite good, though. No salt was necessary.

Out-of-Shell Roasting: I also shelled some peanuts and roasted them at a low temperature, 300, for about 45 minutes. Some of the nuts had no skin on them, and those were toasty brown and crunched in the mouth like a roasted pumpkin seed does. Nutty, but not too peanutty in flavor. Lighter than a traditional peanut, too. The nuts with the skin left on them had a fresher taste to them, and weren't as brittle, but were lighter than a traditional peanut as well. Probably the least tasty of all the variations.

For those of you who just want a regular peanut, you'll need to cure the peanuts prior to using them. You need to leave them out in a dry room until they air dry. I'm told that it usually takes about 10 days for that to happen. Exposing them to temperatures over 95 degrees during that curing process will change the properties of the peanut and potentially damage its flavor. Once fully cured, you can roast or grind the peanuts or eat them raw, just like the ones you buy at the market.

However, I would boil them. Not only was it the best tasting of our experiments, but it was the simplest! Just cover the peanuts with plenty of water, add a few tablespoons of salt and boil for at least an hour, until they are as soft as you like. Drain, peel, and enjoy! - jm

Peanuts aren't actually nuts. They are legumes, and have more in common with beans than nuts. They are eaten like nuts, but are closer to the so-called "soynut" than the walnut or pecan. They are native to South America (Peru), and have managed to travel all around the world so that they are now a big part of many different cultural cuisines. Here we probably most often see the peanut in peanut butter, but in the south there is a popular snack that treats the peanut as the legume that it is: Boiled Peanuts. Southerners boil fresh (or green) peanuts in a way that makes them soft, like a bean, and as it turns out it's quite a delicious little snack, certainly one worth trying. The amount of salt you use is the real variable here, and it seems like it's the only disagreement in this preparation. Some people like their peanuts really salty, and others not so much. If you taste your finished peanuts and want them a little saltier, allow them to sit in the cooking water (off heat) until they take on more salt. Just check one every 15 minutes or so until they get to the point that you like them.

Fresh (Green) Boiled Peanuts

2 lb fresh peanuts
1/4 -1/3 c kosher salt

Put the peanuts in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Add the salt and stir well. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour and up to 3 hours. Test the peanuts by taking one out, opening it up, and tasting the nuts. They should be soft, not crunchy. Drain and serve.

If you prefer your peanuts dry, here's a Nigerian peanut soup recipe that works well with dry peanuts. It may seem like an odd combination, but it's quite nice when you make your own fish stock. If that seems too out there, you can use a meat stock instead. It will be different, but still good. Be sure to shell and roast the peanuts first until they are nutty brown. If you don't prefer skins on your peanuts, you can blanch them to take off the skins before roasting.

Nigerian Peanut Soup

1 c roasted peanuts (no shell)
4 c fish stock
2 red peppers (spicy), halved lengthwise and seeded
1 small onion, minced
1 small sweet pepper, minced

Chop the peanuts until very fine. You can do this in a food processor if you like, just don't take it to peanut butter.
Heat the fish stock in a pot. Smash the red peppers with the side of your knife and add them to the stock with the onion and sweet pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the peanuts and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add some salt, taste, then serve warm. I like this with cornbread croutons fried in butter, which is not traditional at all. Crusty bread or croutons are also nice.



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