How do they get salt in roasted peanuts? — Jonnie, Atlanta, Ga.
A roasted peanut is a raw peanut that you have baked in an oven. A “raw” peanut is a peanut as it comes out of the ground. Most human beings seem to strongly prefer the flavor of cooked peanuts to raw peanuts.
You can roast peanuts either in or out of the shell. But the classic “ball park” roasted peanut is in the shell. You may have noticed that these peanuts have a very fine salt coating on the shell. That’s because the peanuts are soaked in brine (salt water) before roasting them. Brine is water mixed with as much salt as it will hold. Make the brine, dip the peanuts in, spread the peanuts on a cookie sheet and bake.
The following recipe for roasted peanuts from Alton Brown is a little less involved, but gives you the roasting temperature and time. The basic idea is to get the salt on the shell. The salt makes its way to the peanut when you shell it:
Want something fancier? To make honey roasted peanuts (like you get from a street vendor):