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Peanuts belong to the legume family, which includes beans and peas. Peanuts don't grow on trees like real nuts, but instead in papery pods that grow beneath the soil. A thin reddish-brown skin that's difficult to remove surrounds the peanuts after you shell them. Boiling the nuts briefly, a process called blanching, loosens the skin for easier removal. Use blanched raw peanuts as a snack or as the basis for peanut butter and sauces. You can also roast the nuts after blanching to bring out their nutty flavor.
Split the shell of each peanut open with your fingernail or the tip of a paring knife. Remove the raw peanuts from the shells and place them in a bowl.
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Bring a gallon of water to a full rolling boil. Drop the peanuts, a 1/2 lb. at a time, into the boiling water.
Boil the peanuts for three minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl. Continue to blanch the peanuts in the boiling water in 1/2 lb. increments until they are all blanched.
Rub the cooled peanuts between your fingers so the skin peels off. Rinse under cool water to remove any remaining skin flecks, if necessary.
Spread the blanched and skinned peanuts out on a clean cloth. Allow them to dry completely before storing or using.
Store the peanuts in a sealed container in the freezer or refrigerator until you are ready to use them so the oil in the peanuts doesn't go rancid.