WhaddyaNUTS? It’s a term of endearment around here, used to show how impressed we are with someone’s crazy cool idea, Herculean effort, or seriously terrible pun crafting. It is sometimes preceded by an admiring stare, groan, or “whoaaaaaaa” and is often accompanied by an affectionate noogie or smack on the back.
We are a family who loves nuts, both proverbially and literally.
Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts and any other nuts we can lay our hands on make it to our snack table. Of all of these, my kids seem to go the nuttiest (sorry) for anything that is still in the shell. Interactive snack food always takes the win, but nuts in shells? Shoot. That’s everything wonderful for a boy. Their eyes light up when they get to pick up something, use brute force to crush it, then deliver the vanquished snack to their mouths. The fact that it’s a sanctioned mess making operation doesn’t hurt the fun factor either.
I ordered a three pack of Raw In-Shell Peanuts to play around with a boiled peanut recipe* and found I had far more peanuts than I intended to use for the experiment so I decided to roast up a few of them and see what we thought. I washed the shells, dried them, tossed them with some peanut oil, salt, garlic, and whatnot and roasted them. They were… okay. The issue was that the flavour hadn’t penetrated into them at all. I knew I didn’t have the gear to pull a vacuum to suck salt into the shells like they do industrially, but I wanted to get SOMETHING in there shy of shelling all those darned peanuts myself. (Fun with peanuts in shells = removing shells AS you eat them, not removing shells en masse in order to roast them.)
*I still haven’t made the boiled peanuts because we got a little obsessed with the roasted ones in-shell. Some day. Some day I WILL try those things.
I settled on brining the peanuts in a sriracha laced salt and soy water solution for twelve hours, draining but not rinsing, drying the nuts out, then roasting them. It took a bit of time, but it wasn’t hands-on time, and the result was so worth it. The nuts were a mildly spicy, gently salted, crunchy snack that everyone enjoyed.
- The brine you use for for the peanuts is pretty aromatic, so be sure to soak them in a vessel that a.) doesn’t absorb odors or b.) you don’t mind having smell like garlic and chiles for ever and ever amen.
- Drying the peanuts after brining them was no biggie since I spread them out in my Dehydrator and let them go overnight at a low temperature. You can still do this without a dehydrator, but you’ll have to factor in more time to let them air dry completely. Your best bet is to lay them out on cooling racks on the counter. You can boost the speed a bit by laying those cooling trays on a sheet pan and putting them in a super low electric oven with the door propped open a smidge, but you need to watch that constantly and it’s really only an option if your oven can maintain a temperature below 200°F.
- Depending on how effectively you dry your peanuts out after brining, they may roast a little more rapidly in the oven, so watch the roasting process well. Use your sniffer to tell you when they’re tasty and roasted. If it smells like tasty, warm, roasted peanuts, they’re probably done!
- These are not burn-your-face-off hot. They have a nice sriracha aroma and are just tingly warm on the inside. If you want fire-bomb hot roasted sriracha peanuts, you’ll need to shell them before soaking and roasting.
- 2½ pounds raw, in-shell peanuts
- 1¾ cups sriracha sauce (not a typo)
- 14 cups boiling water
- 1 cup salt
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- Optional: 2 teaspoons popcorn salt
- In a large, heat-proof bowl or pot, stir together the sriracha, boiling water, 1 cup of salt, and soy sauce until the salt is dissolved. Stir in the peanuts, place a heavy plate on the nuts to weigh them down and keep them submerged. Let them soak for 10 hours. If you can, stir them from time to time. This helps any debris fall to the bottom of the pot.
- Use a slotted spoon or sieve to scoop the peanuts from the pot into a colander. This leaves any dirt or debris that was on the shells in the pot of brine. Spread the peanuts out in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dry them at 105°F for 12 hours. Alternatively, you can spread the peanuts out in a single layer on cooling racks and let them dry at room temperature, moving them every 12 hours for about 72 hours or until the shells are completely all the way through.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide the peanuts between rimmed baking sheets, spreading them out into a single layer. Roast for 20-35 minutes, depending on how dry your shells got, until fragrant and slightly darkened. The nuts will crisp up as they cool to room temperature. Let cool completely before putting in an airtight container.
What do you think? Are you down for the adventure of trying to roast your own peanuts in the shell? If you -like me- don’t live where they sell raw peanuts, you can use this Amazon affiliate link to order some:
…And should you want to get a dehydrator, here is an affiliate link to the one that I own and love and use at least twice weekly. Can you tell I love this thing? Believe me, it’s worth its price.