How to Roast Peanuts at Home

It's worth waiting for this savory, nutty treat.

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Home roasting captures the flavor of freshly harvested peanuts.

Home roasting captures the flavor of freshly harvested peanuts.

It may come as a surprise to some to learn that America’s most popular nut isn’t a nut at all. Unlike actual nuts, the peanut does not grow on trees. Although the peanut plant flowers above ground, these legumes develop underground from the root and belong to the family Leguminosae, the same family as peas and beans. Growing in clusters, a single plant may yield 50 to 100 peanuts and, although most often grown commercially, the low-maintenance plant can be a fun and easy-to-grow addition to home gardens in areas able to accommodate the 140 frost-free days it takes for the fruit to mature.

When peanuts are harvested, the plants are overturned and the legumes are left to dry in the field for several days before being harvested. Once harvested, “green” (freshly picked) peanuts may have their shells removed for processing or left inside the fibrous husk. Although peanuts left in the shell have an extraordinarily long shelf life, “green” peanuts have a higher moisture content than those that have been prepared for storage.

If you’ve grown your own peanuts this year or can find “green” peanuts at your local farmers' market, boiling or roasting fresh peanuts captures that “straight from the field” flavor in a way one might not usually associate with this particular legume.

Roasting peanuts involves a lot of waiting. The peanuts must be soaked in a salty brine long enough for the flavor to reach the “nut” itself. Once brined, the peanuts must dry before roasting. And finally, even after they have been removed from the oven, they continue to cook inside the shell and must cool before serving. It’s worth the wait.

Roasted Peanuts

  • 2 pounds raw peanuts in shell
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

Rinse peanuts to remove excess dirt.

In a large pot or bowl, dissolve salt in water.

Place peanuts in brine and place a plate on top of nuts to submerge.

Soak 6 hours.

Drain water, spread peanuts on 2 baking sheets in a single layer.

Allow to rest 12 hours or overnight to dry.

Roast in a 300 degree oven for 45 minutes. stirring after 20 minutes

Allow to cool before serving.

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