(Makes 4 lbs.)
1 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 gal. water
3 lbs. green peanuts
In a large (10- to 12-quart) stockpot, stir salt into water until the salt dissolves, then add the peanuts. Note the level of the water on the side of the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for two to three hours, keeping the water in the pot within an inch or so of its original level with regular additions of water, until the peanuts are about as soft as a roasted chestnut.
Once the peanuts have boiled for one hour, sample them to check their texture and salinity. Remove a peanut, and when it is cool enough to handle, crack open its shell and taste the kernel, slurping some brine with it. If the peanut crunches, it should be cooked further. If the brine lacks enough salt, add more to taste; if it is too salty, remove a portion of the water and replace with the same volume of fresh water. Allow the pot to boil for another hour before testing again. Sample every hour until they are pleasantly yielding and as salty as a good pickle.
When the peanuts are cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and allow them to cool in the pot for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, drain the water and eat immediately. If not eating, store the shell-on peanuts in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Boiled peanuts will keep for about seven to 10 days in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer.