How to Make Home-Canned Boiled Peanuts, Easily!
from fresh Green Peanuts in the Shell
If you are from the deep South of the United States, you undoubtedly have tried boiled peanuts. They are definitely an acquired taste but are a traditional snack in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. They are most commonly sold during the summer months from roadside stands, often little more than a shed and a huge pot on a propane stove. They're a bit slimy in texture, and very salty (but, of course, you eat only the nut inside, not the shell!)
The resulting food is a very soft peanut in the shell, invariably
quite salty. The softened peanuts are easy to open. Often small,
immature peanuts (called "pops") are included, which have even softer
shells and can be eaten in entirety. These tend to absorb more salt than
the larger ones.
Uneaten peanuts should be stored in a refrigerator, as they can become slimy or moldy quite quickly without refrigeration. Boiled peanuts can be frozen, and later reheated in a microwave for out of season consumption.
Boiled peanuts can also be canned to eat later or give away as gifts. But you MUST use a pressure canner.
Given high protein content and ease of storage, boiled peanuts are an excellent food for very hot weather and outdoor work, although the high salt content could be a problem for some people.
- Green peanuts in the shell. About 1 pound per quart jar you want to make (see step 1)
- 1 pound of pickling/canning salt or kosher salt
- 1 Pressure Canner (a large pressure pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars after filling (about $75 to $200 at mall kitchen stores and "big box" stores, but it is cheaper online; see this page for more information). For low acid foods (most vegetables, you can't use an open water bath canner, it has to be a pressure canner to get the high temperatures to kill the bacteria. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
- Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)t)
- At least 1 large pot
- Large spoons and ladles
- Ball jars (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings)
- Salt (optional - I don't use any)
Directions for Making Canned Boiled Peanuts
Step 1 - Select your peanuts
Select fully mature, but still green peanuts. They must not be roasted or already cooked or dried. Fully mature peanuts do not make good quality boiled peanuts; rather raw or "green" ones are used. "Raw" denotes peanuts in a semi-mature state, having achieved full size, but not being fully dried, as would be needed for roasting or peanut butter use. The most flavorful peanuts for boiling are the Valencia type. These are preferred in the United States, being grown in gardens and small patches throughout the South. Green Virginia type peanuts are also sometimes used - these do have larger kernels, but the flavor is not as good.
Step 2 - Prepare the jars and pressure canner
Wash the jars and lids
This is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.
Get a large pot of water boiling
We will use this water to pour over the peanuts and fill each jar with liquid, after we've packed them full of peanuts. I use the largest pot I have, so that there is plenty of clean, boiling water ready when I need it.
Get the pressure canner heating up
Rinse out your pressure canner, put the rack plate in the bottom, and fill it to a depth of 4 inches with hot tap water. (of course, follow the instruction that came with the canner, if they are different). Put it on the stove over low heat, with the lid OFF of it, just to get it heating up for later on.
Step 3 -Wash the peanuts
Wash them under running water.
Step 4 - Soak the peanuts
Soak the peanuts in the shell in fresh water for one hour.
Step 5 - Soak again
Discard the water, cover again with fresh water and soak for another hour.
Step 6 - Soak a third time!
Repeat this soaking process one more time for one more hour. This makes a total soaking time of three hours, using fresh water each time.
Step 7 - Make a brine solution
Combine 1 cup of pickling salt or kosher salt with 1 gallon of water. Set this on a burner on low heat (so it does not boil away) until you are ready to fill the jars (Step 10 )
Step 8 - Parboil the peanuts
Then parboil the peanuts for 10 minutes in fresh water and drain. Parboiling means to maintain the stove's burner so that the water is simmering, just below boiling. This can be done inside on the stove or outside on a propane burner for a larger volume. The boil can go on longer than 10 minutes, depending on quantity and the age of the peanut (green "raw" peanuts cook faster and tend to be better tasting), but you do not want to boil so long that the peanuts become peanut butter! When they are soft, they are done. If they are still slightly crunchy, they are not done yet.
Flavorings such as spices, hot sauce or Cajun seasonings can be added to the boil.
Step 9 - Fill the jars
Pack the hot peanuts into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Step 10 - Add the hot brine
Fill each jar to 1/2 inch from the top with boiling brine (1 cup salt per gallon of water). Remove any air bubbles.
Step 11 - Seal the jars and fill the canner
Wipe the jar's rims, put the lids on then the rings and tighten them snugly. Place the jars into the pressure canner.
Step 12 - Let the pressure canner vent steam for 10 minutes
You MUST use a pressure canner. Peanuts are a non-acidic food. Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.
Step 13 - Put the weight on and let the pressure build
After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds (see the charts below for different canners).
Step 14 - Process in the PRESSURE CANNER
Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner OR in a Weighted Gauge Canner at the following pressures dependent upon altitude and for the recommended time:
Recommended process time for Boiled Peanuts in a dial-gauge pressure canner
|Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 2,000 ft||2,001 - 4,000 ft||4,001 - 6,000 ft||6,001 - 8,000 ft|
|Pints||45 min||11 lb||12 lb||13 lb||14 lb|
Recommended process time for Green Peanuts in a Weighted-gauge pressure canner
|Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Pints||45 min||10 lb||15 lb|
Once the gauge hits 10 pounds, start your timer going - for 45 to 50 minutes. Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain 11 pounds of pressure (or the pressure in the chart for your conditions).
It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:
or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model number to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual. Click here for more information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.
Step 15 - Turn off the heat and let it cool down
When the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero before opening the canner. Let the jars cool without being jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the "click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the gauge. Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss of liquid in the jars!
Step 16 - Remove the jars
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel, without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. You're done!
This document was adapted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to can boiled peanuts in a traditional water bath? If so how long do you do process them?
A. The answer, quite simply is no. Quoting from the Ohio State University Extension's Fact Sheet:
"Pressure canning is the only safe method for home canning vegetables. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning in low-acid foods, such as vegetables. The bacterial spores are destroyed only when the vegetables are processed in a pressure canner at 240 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for the correct amount of time.
Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium commonly found in vegetables and meats. It is harmless until it finds itself in a moist, low-acid, oxygen-free environment or a partial vacuum. Under these conditions, the bacterium can grow and produce toxins dangerous to people and animals.
Do not process (low acid) vegetables using the boiling water bath because the botulinum bacteria can survive that method.
Can fruits and vegetables be canned without heating if aspirin is used? No. Aspirin should not be used in canning. It cannot be relied on to prevent spoilage or to give satisfactory products. Adequate heat treatment is the only safe procedure.
Is it safe to can boiled peanuts in a boiling water bath if vinegar is used? No. Recommended processing methods must be used to assure safety. Recommended processing times cannot be shortened if vinegar is used in canning fresh vegetables. (This does not refer to pickled vegetables.)
Salt and sugar are not preservatives for vegetables: they are added to stabilize and improve flavor, but will not prevent spoilage.
Salicylic acid is also NOT a preservative. The University of Illinois reports:
Using Aspirin for Canning
Several years ago, a recipe circulated using aspirin to acidify tomatoes and boiled peanuts for canning. Aspirin is not recommended for canning. While it contains salicylic acid, it does not sufficiently acidify tomatoes or boiled peanuts for safe hot water bath canning. boiled peanuts are low acid foods and may only be processed safely in a pressure canner. Lemon juice or vinegar is recommended to acidify tomato products for safe water bath processing.
Think of it like smoking. We all know someone who smoke their entire life and lived to be 90. But the cemeteries are filled with the vast majority who didn't. You'll hear people say "my grandmother did it that way for 20 years". But of course, the people who died from food poisoning aren't around and often didn't have descendants to tell their tale...
If you want to can low-acid foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of most tomatoes, you will need a pressure canner. These foods fit into the low acid group since they have an acidity, or pH level, of 4.6 or greater. The temperature which must be reached and maintained (for a specified amount of time) to kill the bacteria is 240 F. Pressure canning is the only canning method recommended safe by the U.S.D.A. for low-acid foods such as vegetables, meats, and fish. Ordinary water bath canners can only reach 212 F and cannot to kill the types of bacteria that will grow in low acid foods. This temperature can be reached only by creating steam under pressure as achieved in quality pressure canners.
There are several manufacturers of pressure canners. The two leading ones are Presto and All American (Wisconsin Aluminum). They are more expensive than water bath canners, but extremely well built - I bought mine in 1988 and it still looks and works like new!
Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
Amazon usually has this (through the links at left) for about $79. (which is a GREAT price for a pressure canner). Click on the links at left for more info and current pricing.
Shown at left is
the Presto 23 quart pressure canner. Features below and click here for more information
or to purchase from Target.
All American Pressure Canner and Cooker #921
|BUT, with a pressure canner it's easy. And although a pressure canner costs $100 to $200 (see this page for pressure canners models, makes and prices), they last a lifetime, and your children and grandchildren may be using it. You can also find free information from the USDA in this PDF file (it will take a while to load!) about selecting and using canners here!|