I purchased fifty pounds of raw jumbo blanched Virginia peanuts at $1 per pound from the Wakefield Peanut Company® in Wakefield, Virginia. After shipping the cost was $1.80 per pound, for shipping heavy items is expensive. Why did I do that? The reasons are pretty good. First, the final price including the shipping is far below what anyone will pay for jumbo Virginia peanuts in any other way. Second, I wanted to fry the peanuts myself and prove that they would be superior to anything I could buy. Third, I fill Christmas bags as gifts that contain a variety of special food items for close friends and family. Giving away many pounds of premium raw blanched peanuts, peanut oil and directions for frying seemed like a very inexpensive way to gift people with something very nice.
I learned about the peanut company from my Aunt Doris, whose husband, my Uncle Jim, used to buy the peanuts in bulk and give away five pound bags to his children and to his brothers. That is how I got to know just how great those fried peanuts could be, as my dad made them when we visited many years ago. I never forgot … and now some years after my Uncle Jim died, I found out where to get the raw peanuts. Now you know too.
I vacuum seal pound and half pound quantities of the peanuts to keep them fresh. I also purchase the thirty-five pound bulk peanut oil jug at Costco® and some eight ounce canning jars with lids and I made peanut oil a gift to be used with the raw peanuts. Finally, when I had the perfect frying and processing recipe figured out, I typed the recipe and printed many copies of it so that I could include the recipe with the peanuts and the peanut oil. It worked exceptionally well, and a lot of recipients raved about the great taste later.
Thus, this recipe is what I do to fry raw jumbo blanched Virginia peanuts. And they are very, very good. My recipe is for small batches suitable for two people and I do the frying in a small skillet. It is easy and the peanuts are always perfectly fresh. I simply go to my supply of one pound or half pound vacuum sealed bags of peanuts and open one. The vacuum sealing keeps the peanuts fresh literally for at least two years, and that was a most interesting discovery.
I like to use sea salt with freshly fried peanuts, and it is extra enjoyable because I take fine granular sea salt and crush it to the consistency of popcorn salt by using an old fashioned mortar and pestle. Most recently I have started processing the salt in very small containers with high speed food processors, similar to what I do to make powdered sugar from regular sugar.
1 lb. of jumbo raw blanched Virginia peanuts
1 cup of peanut oil (or more if the peanuts are not covered by the oil)
1 tbsp. of sea salt, ground fine (regular salt is fine also)
Put the raw peanuts and the oil into a small skillet with a thick bottom. Use enough oil to barely cover the peanuts, but allow enough space between the oil and the top of the skillet rim to avoid hot oil bubbling over the side … at least ¾". Heat the mixture on high heat, stirring lightly, until the peanuts/oil start to bubble.
Reduce the heat to low and fry the peanuts, stirring lightly every minute to keep them well mixed, until you detect the peanuts changing color from off-white or very pale tan to light tan in color. They will bubble a fair amount as they fry and you have to stir them to break up the bubbles to detect the color changes.
When they are a light tan in color, immediately turn off the heat and quickly remove the peanuts with a slotted spoon to a cookie tray that has paper towels on it two layers thick. Spread the peanuts out evenly with each spoonful so they are in a single layer. They will overcook and turn dark if left in a mound as retained heat from the frying process is considerable.
è Frying peanuts in the above manner accommodates any size of peanut. It does not demand constant temperature control, for unlike many fried foods peanuts will not come out soggy if fried in lower temperature oil. Lower temperature frying is desirable for peanuts as you have better control over when to remove them … your response time window is longer. Peanuts actually have a very short frying time from the first bubbling until they are removed from the oil, anywhere from two to four minutes. It is up to the cook to decide when they are done frying. If you wait even one minute too long they will ultimately be too dark or even burned, even if they look okay as you remove them from the hot oil. You want to remove them when they appear to be too light in color, for they will finish frying outside the skillet and proceed to darken to a good medium tan.
Salt the peanuts with finely ground sea salt. Let them cool to a comfortable temperature for handling.
Dispense the peanuts from the tray onto a large platter or into two shallow large bowls.
Let them cool for ten to fifteen more minutes so that the centers of the peanuts lose residual moisture and are then as crunchy as the outer parts. If you start eating them too soon the centers will be chewy instead of crunchy.