It’s peanut day at Mister Ed’s! Each Thursday we roast at least five or six small batches of our Virginia jumbo peanuts in our Peanut Roastery, a small shed just outside the store’s back door. Thursdays are a real treat to stroll our grounds, because there are few things better than the smell of good nuts roasting.
We use our antique roaster, circa the early 1900s, to gently toast fresh raw peanuts over an open flame. The peanuts sit in a cylinder inside the machie that is kept constantly spinning with a belt to prevent burning. Approximately 25 pounds of peanuts can be roasted in each batch, or half of a sack of raw peanuts. Throughout the cooking process, we check the nuts to test their doneness. You can’t rely on a timer, because the first batch often takes about twice as long as the last batch, since the machine is nice and hot.
Once the nuts reach their desired level of doneness, we remove them from the machine, put them in an open sack and lay them flat on pavement to cool. Nuts are great heat conductors, so they continue to cook after we pull them from the roaster.
We mainly roast nuts to three different levels of doneness, with fourth and fifth levels happening occasionally by accident. And like coffee beans, the longer you roast the nut, the more flavorful it will be.·
- Light roast peanuts are slightly underdone, with a faint peanutty taste and hint of chew.
- Regular roast nuts have a rich, peanutty taste with a nice snap, just like the peanuts you get at the ballpark…but better.
- We roast peanuts a little longer to get a more intense flavor, and that’s what you’ll find in our dark roast nuts. These are for you if you like bold peanut flavor with a lot of crunch.
- Extra dark roast peanuts happen by accident, but are beloved by some true peanut fans. Extra peanutty, extra crunch and just this side of burnt, extra dark roast peanuts will put hair on your chest.
- Burnt peanuts happen to the best of us, but rarely. They smell terrible and can easily catch fire as they are cooling, but critters like squirrels and chipmunks love them.
The nuts we roast come without salt, making them nice and healthy just like God intended. Salted peanuts are soaked in a brine bath before being roasted, a process that takes some time and a lot of space. While we have plenty of salted peanuts available, it’s our fresh roasted nuts that put us on the map.
Want to try our nuts? Every Tuesday and Thursday, our three-pound bags are $1.99/pound (regularly $3.19/pound). Stop by any Thursday and see how we roast the nuts. You can even ask for a taste of a nut in the roasting process. When you finished eating your nut, just drop the shells on the ground (our wildlife friends with thank you!).