Peanuts—also known as groundnuts, or "goobers" in the South—make a healthy snack. Raw dried peanuts can be roasted shelled or in the shell. If you plan to roast them and make peanut butter (below), use Spanish or Runner varieties. For eating out of hand, Virginia and Valencia varieties are best.
How to Roast Peanuts in the Shell
- To roast peanuts at home, start with 1 pound of fresh raw (dried, not green) peanuts in the shell.
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
- Rinse the peanuts in a colander under cold running water. Spread the washed peanuts out on a towel and pat dry.
- Put the peanuts in a large bowl and toss with about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil or another kind of neutral-flavor oil. Sprinkle the peanuts with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- Arrange the peanuts in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if necessary to keep them in a single layer.
- Roast the peanuts in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, turning and stirring frequently.
- Let the peanuts cool slightly before eating.
How to Roast Shelled Peanuts
- Shell the peanuts and then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet as above.
- Sprinkle the peanuts lightly with salt and roast in a preheated 350 F (180 C/Gas 4) oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Transfer the roasted peanuts to a food processor.
- Process the peanuts for about 45 to 60 seconds. Scrape the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula and continue processing for 2 to 3 minutes. The peanut butter mixture will be smooth and shiny when done.
- Taste the peanut butter and add sweetener (honey, brown sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc.) and salt, to taste.
Dried Peanuts vs. Green Peanuts
- Green peanuts—freshly dug and harvested in the late summer and fall—have a higher moisture content than dried raw peanuts, so they are more perishable. Green peanuts should be cooked, refrigerated, or frozen immediately after harvest.
- Dried peanuts are raw peanuts which have been dried either in the field or a drying facility. Dried raw peanuts are ideal for roasting. Dried raw peanuts can be boiled, as well, making them a good solution if you can't find green peanuts.
- Unshelled peanuts should be clean and unbroken. They shouldn't rattle when shaken.
- One pound of peanuts in the shell will yield about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of shelled peanuts.
- Unshelled raw dried peanuts may be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months. Peanuts may also be frozen.
- Use freshly roasted peanuts in old-fashioned peanut brittle, party mix with cereal, spicy Cajun seasoned peanuts, or this delicious haystack candy.